Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Gender Equality Bonus

Project overview

Sweden’s ‘gender equality bonus’ – introduced in 2008 – is designed to make it easier for mothers to return to work after childbirth and to encourage fathers to take more of their parental leave so that mothers and fathers can share childcare duties more evenly. The Swedish government believes that, by encouraging the families to share parental leave more equally, it will strengthen incentives for mothers to return to work and will contribute to reducing the gender pay gap.

Policy category

Supporting Parenting and Assisting with Childcare

Recommendation pillars

Support parents’ participation in the labour market

Countries that have implemented practice


Age groups

Adults (age 20+)

Target groups

Parents, Mothers, Fathers

Years in operation

2008  - still operating

Type of organisation implementing practice

National Government

Scale of implementation

All families with newborns in the country of Sweden.

Evaluation references

Abstract: Since the introduction of parental leave in Sweden a more gender-equal division of such leave has been targeted. To this end, a number of strategies have been applied, and three major reforms have been introduced. In 1995 one month was reserved for each parent, implying that the month was forfeited if not used by the same parent. The reservation of one month was followed by another month in 2002. In 2008, a gender equality bonus was introduced, meaning that tax credits were given to parents who shared the leave equally. This study investigates and compares the effects of these reforms on the division of parental leave. The comparison is made by means of a natural experiment approach, using control and treatment groups with parents of children born just before and after the introduction of each reform. We use register data from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency in which parental leave use by all parents residing in Sweden is included. The results indicate a strong effect from the first reserved month, a more modest but clear effect from the second reserved month and, so far, no  effect from the gender equality bonus.


Contact information

Email epic@rand.org
Website http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/4096/a/171701

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