Childcare is one of the main challenges women face in their working careers. For this reason, in the last few years, governments have been committed to promoting paternity leave as a way of combating the gender gap at work and home. However, most of the time, it is still mothers who continue to take on the responsibility of caring for their children.

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), mothers have the right to a period of rest before and after childbirth to safeguard their and their child’s health. In its Convention No. 183, ILO states that maternity leave must be a minimum of 14 weeks, six of which must be taken following childbirth. It also establishes an additional leave in case of illness, complications, or risks of complications that may arise from pregnancy.

Maternity and paternity leaves vary depending on the country, monthly wages, and collective agreements, if applicable.

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What countries give paid maternity leave?


Maternity and paternity leave in Europe

In Europe, both parents are entitled to childbirth benefits. In addition to maternity and paternity leave, they are offered parental leave, which can be shared by both parents. Parental leave gives parents who take time off to care for their children employment protection and income support. Parental leave varies in length by country.

Here is a comparison of maternity and paternity leaves by country in Europe.

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Maternity and paternity leave in the Americas 

Maternity and paternity leave in the Americas are less generous than they are in Europe. Many countries have yet to begin offering paternity leave, and those that do give very few days.

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*The U.S doesn’t have mandatory parental leave — maternity and paternity leave are not guaranteed by federal law. However, many states have adopted their own policies and programs, but not all the employees can enjoy these benefits.


Maternity and paternity leave in Asia-Pacific countries

Mothers in East Asia and the Pacific region are entitled to an average of 91 days of paid maternity leave. Contrastingly, the average length of paid paternity leave is just five days.

Here is a comparison of maternity and paternity leaves in Asia-Pacific region.

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Maternity and paternity leave in the Middle East 

Parental leaves in the Middle East are gaining more importance. Over the years, governments have made great progress at regulating maternity and paternity leaves.

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Maternity and paternity leave in Africa

Most African countries offer both parents paid maternity and paternity leaves, although paternity leaves are significantly shorter than maternity leaves. South Africa is the only country where paid leaves are not mandatory.

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Maternity and paternity leaves are mandatory throughout most of the world, so if your company is considering expanding to other markets, it is essential to know the laws and expectations in your country to remain compliant.

Maternity/Paternity Local Laws

As an Employer of Record, Globalization Partners helps you hire, onboard, pay, and manage employee benefits in 187 countries. We´ll ensure your company is complying to local maternity and paternity laws, so you can focus on growing your business and supporting a productive team.


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