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Last year, nearly all Icelandic fathers used their entitlement to three months off work on 80% of their salary.

The new paternity law came into effect in 2002. Iceland now has Europe's second highest birth rate after Turkey.

That's awesome, and a wonderful rebuttal to the claims that feminism/secularism/liberalism/whatever has caused the decline in birth rate in Europe. Liberalism is pro-family!

drunken monkey

I'm currently fascinated with Iceland, after seeing a documentary show looking at it and Newfoundland -- the former became independent at about the same time the latter joined Canada. The comparison isn't parallel, of course, but it's particularly striking when looking at the cod fishery for each place (as in, Iceland still has one).

I've been thinking about it a lot, considering the navel-gazing Newfoundland and Labrador has been doing about its place in Canada over the past year.

Their policy on paternity leave and parental support adds an interesting new dynamic to it. I think it's fair to say a higher percentage of women in the province stay at home than in the general Canadian population; being self-employed in the fishery makes it easier, and some economic situations make it harder (my mother stays at home because she likely wouldn't make enough to break even after paying for a second vehicle and day care).

Meanwhile, it's not unusual for fathers to be gone from the home for significant periods of time, either due to the fishery or because they have to leave the province to work.

I'd imagine that being able to arrange your work life around your family life would make a difference that might not be seen in Newfoundland and Labrador, as family-oriented a place as it is.

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