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Home NATIONALExpat Finns in US struggle with high day care fees
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Mon, 18 Apr, 2016 12:01:35 AM
FTimes - STT Report, Apr 18
 
Photo – Lehtikuva.
Finnish families living in the United States are used to making compromises between professional and family life.
 
Long working hours and expensive day care services often means that one of the parents has to remain at home. In most cases, it is the mother who remains at home.
 
Kalle Korhonen, an entrepreneur in technology who lives in Newark Silicon Valley, said he hardly sees his three children as he currently does without free working hours.
 
“We have made a lot of compromises. I do not know how I would cope if both of us had normal working weeks,” said Korhonen who works far from home. 
 
Korhonen’s wife Harinder works as a biochemist and clocks 80 per cent of the working week. According to Korhonen, the day care fees is so high that most often not even the salary of two parents is enough to cover the costs of the child’s care fees.
 
The couple have three children: seven-year-old Ensio, five-year-old Leo, and three-year-old Lumi. Ensio is in second grade, Leo in pre-school, while Lumi is taken to the grandparents who live San Jose.
 
In the United States, one can only dream about lengthy parental leave and affordable day care.
 
According to the research institute IWPR, the day care fees in several states in United States are more expensive than even university studies.
 
For those accustomed to the Finnish legislation and state support, the change is huge.
 
“During my working time, I try to be flexible, taking and bringing back the children. I know that there are not many fathers in the Silicon Valley who are able to do this,” Korhonen said.
 
 The working hours, especially in start-up companies, are very long.
 
“Harinder is not the typical house wife. We have consciously strived that both of us can have a career and still spend time with the children,” Korhonen said. 
 
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