Maternity leave policies around the world

Maternity leave policies around the world

Maternity leave policies differ depending on where you are in the world. In some countries, new mothers get paid the same salary during maternity leave as they would be otherwise. Other countries might offer a percentage of the former salary or something similar. How do different maternity leave policies around the world compare to the US?

Maternity Leave Laws

Maternity and paternity leave refer to the paid or unpaid leave of absence offered to men and women who have just had or adopted a child. The International Labour Organization updated the Maternity Protection Convention in 2000 to require that each country give a minimum of 14 weeks leave to new parents. While not required globally, The World Health Organization recommends that countries require paid maternity leave as well. Each country sets different maternity leave laws, but more than 120 countries are currently required to offer paid maternity leave with benefits.  


Sweden has one of the highest paid parental leave policies of any country, offering new parents 480 days of leave at 80% of their normal pay. 90 of these days are reserved just for the dads to promote bonding between father and child, but the parents can choose to split it up however they want. 



Canada offers parental leave that ensures job protection and provides benefits through its employment insurance plan. Currently, pregnant women in Canada get paid maternity leave for 15 weeks with 35 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption. Qualifying new mothers are also granted 63 weeks of unpaid leave with job protection. 


In Norway, new parents can take either 49 weeks at full pay or 59 weeks at 80% pay. To qualify, you must be a member of the National Insurance Scheme, have had an income for 6 out of the last 10 months, and have earned over a certain amount of money. Same-sex parents have equal rights to leave.


The laws in India grant 26 weeks of maternity leave and 8 weeks of prenatal leave. However, parents with more than two children receive only 12 weeks of maternity leave and 6 weeks of prenatal leave. The compensation includes full pay for 12 weeks and usually a medical bonus.


Maternity leave in Israel is a right granted to all working mothers after having a baby. Israel’s National Insurance Institute grants 14 weeks of paid leave to new parents and up to 28 weeks of unpaid leave. This varies depending on the company but usually ensures job security afterwards.


The United States

Unfortunately, the United States’ maternity leave policy is lacking. The US is the only nation that does not offer a national statutory paid maternity/paternity leave. In other words, the US does not require any type of paid maternity or paternity leave. California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon are the only states that have passed their own family paid leave laws. 

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide at least 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after the birth/adoption of a child. While the US does not require any paid maternity leave time, companies might choose to extend the leave time and offer compensation of some sort.

Even within the US, everyone’s parental leave is different. In such an exciting time of life, you should feel supported in spending time with your little one and adjusting to life as a parent. No matter what your journey looks like, Winx Health (formerly known as Stix) is always here to support you.

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