August 5th, 2007


Continued from the previous post.

Although it looks good on paper, the British system of family leave and maternity benefits has critics. This article suggests that compliance is an issue and that women workers are leaving the workforce in droves because, “… employers aren’t managing their family ambitions. ”

Poland, one of the poorer EU countries, offers 16 to 18 weeks of maternity leave at 100% of pay, and Romanian mothers get 112 days at 50% to 94% of their salaries while fathers get five days at full pay.

Even in Ukraine maternity leave is mandated, with mothers entitled to 126 days leave while collecting 100% of their pay.

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So, that’s Europe, but what about the rest of the world?

Other high tax industrialized countries weigh in with various programs to help families. In Japan mothers get 14 weeks leave at 60% of salary. New South Korean moms are entitled to 60 days at 100%.

Interestingly, mothers in Ethiopia have a legal right to more than those in Japan can claim since Ethiopian law states their entitled to 90 days of leave at full pay. Angola. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Peru, Afghanistan and Thailand are other countries that offer this package.

Chad, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Gabon, Togo, Columbia and Cambodia all give dads at least a week paid leave off.

Guatemala offers 12 weeks at full pay for mothers and two days for fathers.

Russian moms get 140 paid days.

Looking at an alphabetical list of benefits that countries offer new parents, between Trinidad/Tobago … 13 weeks of maternity leave at 60 to 100% pay … and Uruguay … 12 weeks at 100% for mothers and three paid days for dads … we have the United States … paid maternity leave, 0; paid paternity leave, 0; unpaid leave, 12 weeks, but with this caveat — “Must work for a covered employer (all public agencies; private companies with 50 or more employees within 75 miles.) Must have worked for covered employer for at least 12 months prior, and at least 1250 hours in previous 12 months. Other restrictions apply.”

It is most certainly not the case that these laws are followed to the letter in every country, or that every woman giving birth benefits at all from any of these legally mandated rules of employment. Obviously, “employment” is the operative word here.

Grindingly poor Ethiopian and Guatemalan mothers are not sitting home waiting for their babies to come while collecting full paychecks or trotting down with their newborns to the HR office for a month’s pay.

The laws, however, are on the books and families do benefit from them. Perhaps it’s not happening so much in places like Zimbabwe right now … their benefit law says mothers get 90 days at 60% to 75% of pay … but I can personally vouch for the 14 weeks new mothers in Seychelles enjoy since I’m handing Catherina her pay every month.

We will be reimbursed for much of this by Social Security, by the way … and this in a country with no income or property tax. We do, however, pay import duty, a ‘Goods and Services” tax of 12.5% and make SS contributions.

One Response to “Family leave in the world, continued”

  1. soblessed says:

    Doesn’t look so good for the land of the free and home of the brave, huh?

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