Danish fathers are using an increasing share of couples’ joint parental leave entitlement, according to Denmark’s Sampension. It said the development could help bolster women’s pension savings in the long run.

The share of joint parental leave entitlement being used by fathers has risen to 11.1% in 2020 from 9.5% the year before, it noted.

Analysing data from a survey from Statistics Denmark, the labour market pension fund said the trend would help to narrow gender pensions disparity, which was needed as women’s savings had to last for longer because they typically retired earlier and lived longer than men.

Anne-Louise Lindkvist, head of marketing and customer advice at Sampension, said: “More paternity leave is good news for women when it comes to their pension savings.”

She added that women’s savings were generally significantly lower than men’s, partly because females typically took the majority of a couple’s parental leave entitlement.

Sampension said new rules would come into force in Denmark from 2 August that meant parental leave would be more evenly distributed between parents, allowing 11 weeks for each, with an additional 13 weeks of leave that could be transferred to either parent.

“In recent years, men are taking more and more maternity leave at home, and that development can be expected to pick up speed in the future,” Lindkvist said.

She said that a more even distribution of parental leave alone would not mean that women’s pension savings caught up with men’s, but said it could help to reduce the difference over time.

Sampension said that for a 30-year-old with a monthly pension contribution of DKK5,000 (€673), 11 weeks of extra pension contributions would correspond to around DKK27,600 at retirement, and for a 35-year-old, this would correspond to around DKK24,600.

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