Closer Look at Maternity Leaves Around the World

June 21, 20178:43 am1315 views

We take a closer look at what maternity leave looks like around the world…

Which Countries Have the Most Maternity Leave?




(until 6 months) – rest paid by State


3.      NORWAY 322-365 80-100% SOCIAL INSURANCE
4.      UK 365 90%



(92% refunded by public funds)



Which are the best industries for working mothers?

As a mother, not only do you need time off and generous pay, but also a flexible working environment.

The Working Mother Research Institute surveyed 1,508 working mothers to find out what their top industries are.

Highest average pay is in these sectors

  • Financial services
  • Professional services
  • Manufacturing
  • All paying more than $45,000 per year

Mothers in retail

  • Earn less than $30,000 annually

Mothers in tech

  • Earn nearly $67,000 annually

Working mothers who said they were satisfied with their job

  • 74% are satisfied working in healthcare
  • 70% are satisfied working as a teacher or in financial services


  • More than 50% of the mothers working in financial services, health care, and manufacturing have received a raise within the year
  • Only 29% of mothers in teaching received a raise
  • 40% of mothers in professional services received a raise


  • 29% of mothers in finance get maternity leave at full pay
  • Less commonly received in education and retail

With more women likely to stay home to take care of kids rather than work, the opposite is still true for men. Women still feel insecure about the stability of the job, meaning that they often take less maternity leave in order to come back to work.

See: Female Employees at Standard Chartered Singapore Will Get 20-Weeks Paid Maternity Leave

What are the benefits in the UK?

Employers in the United Kingdom are required to offer one year of leave to employees, who become new mothers. Legally, mothers are allowed up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, at 90% of their original pay.

  • It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been with your employer, how many hours you work or how much you get paid
  • Ordinary Maternity Leave – first 26 weeks
  • Additional Maternity Leave – last 26 weeks
  • You may be entitled to take some of your leave as shared parental leave

While on statutory maternity leave, you will be protected as an employee and are still eligible for the following:

  • A pay rise
  • To accrue vacation days
  • To return to work

Paternity Benefits?

Here’s a look at the average parental leave taken from 2012 to 2014 in the UK:

Avg. maternity / paternity leave 2012 2013 2014
Maternity – average days 137.15 103.65 101.28
Paternity – average days 9.39 9.57 12.22
Total leave 146.54 113.22 113.5

Maternity leave taken over the period 2012-2014 lowered drastically. New mothers are finding it difficult to take leave to bond with their new-born, which shouldn’t be the case according to British law, with Scandinavian countries showing that being an efficient contributor to the workforce and being a parent is more than possible.

The parental picture in the UK differs dramatically compared to the before mentioned countries – with 90%of new dads in Norway taking their full paternity leave, and 73% in Sweden. Paternity leave in Norway and Sweden more than qualifies as ‘well-paid’, while fathers in Britain are offered only 31% of the national average salary.

Where are the best benefits worldwide?


  • Each parent has the right to shorten their work hours by up to 25% until the child turns eight (you get paid only for the time you work)
  • Each parent can take parental leave up until their child turns eight – which applies to each individual child, so you’re able to accumulate leave from several children excluding multiple births.


  • A whole year of paid maternal leave with 100% pay
  • Full paid paternal leave is available for 120 days


  • Parents get 46 weeks with a full salary; or 56 weeks at 80% pay
  • If fathers don’t take their share of paternal leave, then the total parental leave is shortened. This encourages fathers to bond time with their new-born, support their early development, while motivating mothers to go back to work.


  • Can be taken for up to 20 weeks, fully paid, after giving birth
  • Aside from generous leave, female employees are protected while pregnant and on maternity leave, and employment cannot be validly terminated during this time.
  • However, Paternal leave in Serbia isn’t close to what they offer expectant mothers – fathers qualify for one week of fully paid leave.

Content credit: Instant Offices

Also read: More Unpaid Infant-care Leave Offered to Parents Working in Public Sector from July 2017

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