Being born October 15 or later never mattered as much as this week. Expectant mothers in Iceland are crossing their fingers, or, more precisely, their legs, hoping their babies will wait it out until October 15th. Financially, it would make a big difference. To be precise, the difference could be as much as ISK 130,000 (USD 1,100, EUR 1,000) in monthly payments from the parental leave benefit fund, RÚV reports.
Here is the reason: On October 7, the Icelandic government agreed to increase the maximum monthly payments couples may receive from the fund during parental leave. The maximum amount used to be ISK 370,000 (USD 3,200, EUR 2,900), but will now be up to ISK 500,000 (USD 4,400, EUR 4,000), depending on the parents’ income. The problem is that the change won’t take effect until October 15, that is, it will only affect the parents of babies born or adopted October 15 or later.
That has caused many expectant mothers to voice their disapproval. There are examples of those who have postponed being induced until after this weekend.
Áslaug Valsdóttir, head of the Icelandic Midwives’ Association, told RÚV that as much as women would like to postpone a delivery, you can’t stop a baby who wants to be born.
She described the situation as a cause of stress, which, she said, is unfortunate during the last days of pregnancy. She would have preferred to see the payments to all new parents go up on October 15, regardless of whether their babies were born earlier in the year or not.
Maximum monthly payments for parents on parental leave had been ISK 370,000 since 2014. Following the banking collapse in 2008, they were reduced to ISK 300,000. That prevented many fathers from taking paternal leave. Parental leave in Iceland is nine months. Mothers can take three months off, fathers three, and the rest they can split as they like.