8 Countries That Totally Nail Paid Parental Leave
Categories: Parenting

8 Countries That Totally Nail Paid Parental Leave

If you’re pregnant, preparing to adopt, trying to conceive or even just considering an addition to your family, you’re likely studying up on your employer’s benefits. If you’re really into planning ahead, you may have researched which companies have the best maternity leave policies before you even started the interview process. With the exception of some incredible change-makers like last year’s update of Amazon’s parental leave policies, American employers have a bad rep (deserved, unfortunately) of offering pretty meager options overall. For some serious inspo on how to make expanding your family while employed really work for you, take a look at eight countries that are totally nailing paid parental leave for pregnant people, adopters and partners.

1. Finland: Parental leave in Finland is no joke. New mothers in Finland receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, new Finnish fathers receive nine weeks of paid paternity leave, and both parents share an additional 26 weeks of paid leave, adding up to a total of just over a year! Even better, the payout for parents on leave is 70-90 percent of their previous annual earnings. But that’s not all — Finns take it one step further and grant working parents shorter work days from the end of their parental leave until the child completes two years of school.

2. Denmark: Denmark is a chart-topper for countries with the highest level of well-being, and for good reason! Danes give their residents up to 52 weeks of parental leave with benefits, which can be split between mother and father or partner. For the first 18 weeks, the mother can receive 100 percent of her salary while on leave, and the father or partner can receive the same benefit for two weeks. After the initial leave, the pair can extend their leaves — with full job security intact — to distribute their total 52 weeks as they see fit.

3. Norway: The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration grants new parents a sweet option of either 49 weeks of paid parental leave at 100 percent of their salary or 59 weeks of leave at 80 percent. How it’s done is the choice of each family! However, three weeks of the maternity leave must be used before the baby is born. Paternity benefits include 10 weeks of paid leave, and a joint parental leave option is available for parents taking time off together.

4. Iceland: This tiny island nation provides new mothers and fathers EACH with five months of paid leave and adds an additional two months of shared leave that they can split as they choose. That’s a combined year of time off so both parents can spend some substantial time bonding with their new child.

5. Sweden: Here’s a figure to stop you in your tracks: 480 days of paid parental leave. 480 days! To top it all off, each parent is entitled to half the total leave time, and each has two months reserved just for them, to encourage new dads to take on an equal share of baby responsibilities. New parents receive about 80 percent of their normal salary for the first 390 days, with the remaining 90 days paying out at a flat rate.

6. Canada: Our neighbors to the north offer their denizens a whopping 52 combined weeks of paid parental leave. Maternity leave lasts 17 weeks, and there’s an additional 37 weeks of parental leave available for anyone taking care of a newborn or newly adopted child that can be split between parents as needed, as long as the start and end dates don’t exceed that 52-week total. (At least two weeks have to overlap if a couple wants to receive the full benefit, which means guaranteed daddy/baby bonding time.) It may be frosty up there for most of the year, but those family leave benefits are pretty warm and cozy!

7. Germany: To combat falling birthrates, the German government created a parental leave program that includes staying home with a child up until he or she turns three with paid benefits through the first 12-14 months. If a parent chooses to take the leave, their job or a comparable position will remain open to them throughout their entire time away from work. Talk about job security! And in the spirit of equality, moms, dads and grandparents (if the parent is a minor) are all eligible for parental leave.

8. The United Kingdom: According to the UK government’s official site, parents of newborns or newly adopted children can qualify for up to 52 weeks of leave from work, with up to 39 weeks as paid leave. Even better, if the mother’s partner or husband qualifies for paid paternity leave, the parenting couple can split up the 52 weeks of leave through shared parental leave. Pair these leave benefits with universal health care, and you have yourself a deal sandwich.

How much paid parental leave time do you think is ideal? Tell us about it @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)