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Birth of a Child – ​ Right to a Maternity/Paternity Leave​ ​

  • Maternity/paternity leave is 12 months in total since 2021. ​
  • The independent right of each parent to maternal/paternal leave is 6 months, it is permitted to transfer up to 6 weeks to the other parent. ​
  • Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund pays maternity/paternity leave and it is income-based. The right to receive maternity/paternity leave is related to the time and ratio spent in the labour market before the child is born. Individuals earn these rights. ​
  • Students can also apply for maternity/paternity leave if they have a child while studying, if conditions on study progress are met.​
  • Those who have a child and are neither employed nor studying can apply for a maternity/paternity allowance. This allowance is not high.

Care Allowance for Disabled Children

  • A care allowance is for the legal guardians of disabled children or children with long-term illnesses. ​
  • It is intended to provide financial support for their care and to meet expenses that come with the children.
  • Care allowances can be paid from birth to 18 years of age. ​
  • An example of services offered to the parents of disabled children is regular short-term care for the disabled which gives parents and siblings a resting period. Personal assistance is, for example, when an employee handles recreational activities for a disabled child or adult. ​
  • If a child is thought to have a developmental variation, the first stop is the health care clinic (see part 4). ​

Day parents

  • Day parents provide residential day care for children over 6 months old. Day parents are responsible for care and upbringing and are responsible for the mental and physical welfare of children under their care. ​
  • They work independently but require a permit from the municipality where they work, which also handles mandatory monitoring and counselling of day parents.. ​
  • Day parents handle the registration and admission of children themselves.​
  • The tariff is optional, and each day parent decides their own tariff, but municipalities subsidise part of the day care fees.​
  • In order to become a day parent, certain conditions must be met, courses taken, and a permit obtained from the municipality. ​

​The Rights of Children and Adolescents in Iceland

  • There is a 10-year compulsory schooling in Iceland. From 6-16 years old (grade 1-10). ​
  • Adolescents have the right to a secondary level education (16-18 years). ​
  • Parents are responsible for their children attending school and doing their homework. ​
  • Parents both have the right, and are obligated, to participate in and monitor their children's education. ​
  • Students of foreign origin have the right to special classes in Icelandic.​
  • Primary schools use interpreters and translations of information that is essential for parent-teacher communication.​
  • The general rule is that children attend primary school in their district and follow their peers through the grades, regardless of their ability or previous schooling before coming to Iceland.​

 A Few Items Regarding the Rights of Children and Adolescents

  • A 10-year-old child can go to the swimming pool by themselves (if they can swim), but it is the parents' responsibility to not let a child who can't swim go to the swimming pool by themselves.​
  • A 12-year-old child has the right to be consulted regarding medical treatments.​
  • A 12-year-old child can decide for themselves whether they want to join a religious organisation or resign from one.​
  • A 15-year-old adolescent is an independent party in child welfare cases.​
  • A 15-year-old adolescent is considered legally responsible for their actions. Their offences are punishable.​
  • Having sexual intercourse with an individual younger than 15 years old is punishable. ​
  • A 16-year-old adolescent can seek medical assistance from a doctor/health care clinic without their parent's knowledge.​
  • The year an adolescent turns 16 years old, they are obliged to pay taxes on their wages and a premium to a pension fund. ​
  • 17-year-old adolescents can take a driving test or a motorcycle test.​
  • Individuals become of legal age at 18 years old and from then have autonomy and are financially competent. ​

 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - A Few Important Items from the Convention

  • The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is in effect in Iceland. ​
  • When a child is born it is obligatory to report it to the National Registry of Iceland (doctor, midwife or the mother). The names of the parents must be registered, as well as information on whether they live together.
  • Parents are responsible for their children and children have the right to their care. ​
  • Parents are obliged to support their children, that is provide food, clothes, shelter, and other aspects of a constructive lifestyle. The responsibility of parents to support their child lasts while adolescents attend secondary school, even if they have reached 18 years of age. ​
  • Parents are obliged to make decisions regarding their child's personal issues. A child's opinion is given more importance as the child matures and a 7-year-old child has the right to voice their opinion. ​
  • Parents are obliged to put the interests of the child first. ​
  • The Convention on the Rights of a Child prohibits violence and abuse towards children. ​
  • A child has the right to know both its parents and associate with both, even when the parents do not live together.
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