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I wanted to spend time at home with my daughter

I wanted to spend time at home with my daughter

| Text: Marie Preisler, photo: Tomas Bertelsen

When Malte Conrad became a father three years ago, he wanted to take as much paid parental leave as possible. This summer he will be the father of twins, and wants to do it all again.

Malte Conrad (32) is a sociologist working for the police force. He has the right to three months’ parental leave on full pay, which he is very happy about.

“For me it was extremely important to be able to spend those months alone at home with my daughter. I was the one in charge of the comfort blanket, meals and sleep, while my girlfriend went to work and had to adapt to Herta’s and my regime.”

They were good days which seemed to pass much quicker than he had anticipated.

“I never thought about taking more than three months, which gave me full pay. We didn’t really feel we could afford more, and I was perhaps also a bit nervous about starting to miss work. But half way through the leave, I really felt like having more time,” he says.

Malte Conrad with daughter and wife

He and partner Agnete are expecting twins in the summer, and have decided that Malte will take parental leave again. They will do it in the same way as last time – with three months full pay as soon as Agnete’s maternal leave ends. There will also be one extra month’s holiday at the end of the leave. Because he works in the public sector, he could choose to extend his leave on a daily allowance rate, but has no plans to do so.

“My employer would support me taking longer leave, but I am not sure if we could afford just a daily allowance rate. I might also start to miss work after four months of focussing on the children. It is very valuable, but a bit boring to spend all your time with a child aged eight to eleven months.”

He sometimes met up with a couple of other fathers while on parental leave, but admits he envies the socialising that women enjoy during their maternity leave via their mothers’ groups and together with other women on leave.

Malte Conrad 4

Malte Conrad is happy about the fact that the EU is focusing on securing fathers’ rights to take time off to spend with their children. But he is not sure about what to make of the new EU rules.

“I support parental leave earmarked men, but I think it might be better to be able to extend the period of leave rather than taking the two months away from the total leave,” he says.

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