When a mother gives birth, time is needed for rest and recovery, and the opportunity to adapt to life with a new baby. That’s why maternity leave — a temporary respite from employment for mothers — is granted in most countries. However, the length of the leave varies greatly from country to country. Here’s a list of what you can expect from different countries around the world.
Up to 20 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 26 weeks of parental leave
New mums in Singapore are given 16 weeks of fully paid-for maternity leave, while dads are given two weeks of paternity leave. From 1 July 2017 onwards, dads can also take and use up to four weeks of their wife’s maternity leave. Those working in the civil service and their spouses will also be eligible to take an extra four weeks of unpaid infant care leave each.
Click here for more information on Singapore’s maternity and paternity leave policy.
Up to 18 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 20 weeks of parental leave
Across the country, the Australian government mandates that the primary caregiver can get 18 weeks of paid parental leave. During this period, the government pays the national minimum wage, on top of any other benefits that the company pays to parents, which differs from company to company. Working dads and partners get two weeks of leave, also paid for by the government at national minimum wage.
Click here for more information on Australia’s maternity and paternity leave policy.
3. United Kingdom
Up to 39 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 54 weeks of parental leave
Mothers in the UK are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, which can be taken as early as 11 weeks before her expected due date, and the government makes it mandatory for employees to take at least two weeks off after birth. However not all 52 weeks are paid for, only 39 are. During the first six weeks, mums are paid 90 percent of their average weekly earnings (AWE) and for the remaining 33 weeks, they receive £140.98 or 90 percent of their AWE, whichever is lower.
Dads are entitled to two weeks of paid paternity leave and receive £140.98 or 90 percent of their AWE, whichever is lower. Couples also have the option to utilising shared parental leave and shared parental pay instead.
4. South Korea
Up to 64.5 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 65.5 weeks of parental leave
Women in South Korea are entitled to 90 days of fully paid maternity leave, of which half is taken before the birth of the child and the remaining 45 days thereafter. Men get five days of paternity leave, of which three days are paid. Parents can choose to take an additional 12 months of parental leave, where they are entitled to 40 percent of their last drawn salary.
Up to 26 weeks of maternity leave
Recent changes in India’s law now grants women 26 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave, up from the previous 12 weeks, and the cost is borne by the companies. There are currently no provisions for paternity leave.
6. United States
Up to 12 weeks of maternity leave
Despite being one of the largest economies in the world, new mothers in the US are entitled to only 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for their baby under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Up to 55.5 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 68.5 weeks of parental leave
Want up to a year’s time off work to care for your baby? Move to Sweden where parents are entitled to 480 days of parental leave a year, and they get 80 percent of their usual income during that time. The leave can be shared in any proportion between mum and dad, but dads have to take 90 days of leave at the very minimum. Parents can also reduce their working hours by 25 percent until their child turns eight, with no impact on their income.
Click here for more information on Sweden’s parental leave policy.
Up to 50 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 52 weeks of parental leave
The Danes believe that mothers need to prepare for childbirth. That’s why women get four weeks of fully-paid maternity leave before they deliver and another 14 weeks after that. Dads, on the other hand, get two weeks of paid leave after their child is born. Parents can then take another 32 weeks of paid leave to care for their child.
Up to 50 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 69.5 weeks of parental leave
In France, women get 16 weeks of maternity leave, paid at full salary, while fathers are given 11 days of paid paternity leave. To encourage couple to have more children, an extra 26 days of paternity leave are given to parents from their third child onwards. Parents who wish to take more time off to care for their kids can do so by taking partially paid parental leave — mum and dad can each take six months.
Up to 72 weeks of maternity leave
Up to 73 weeks of parental leave
Mothers in Serbia can take 20 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave after they give birth. They can then take up to one additional year of leave that is partially paid. For the first 26 weeks, women will receive 100 percent of their usual salary, 60 percent for the next 13 weeks, and 30 percent for the final 13 weeks. Fathers get one week of fully paid paternity leave.
Read more about the maternity benefits in other countries and how they compare here.