Here's what paid maternity leave looks like around the world

Baby smiling while her mother is carrying her at home
Take a look at paid maternity leave in countries around the world.Hispanolistic/Getty Images
  • The amount of time off work a new parent gets varies wildly depending on where they live.

  • In Bulgaria, mothers get more than a year paid, while in the US there is no national paid leave.

  • Paid maternity leave keeps women in the workforce and lowers their need for public assistance.

In some places in the world, new mothers can take several months off work after giving birth, and they don't have to worry about money because they're still getting paid.

Some countries pay mothers the same amount as the salary they were making before taking leave, while others offer a percentage of their salary, starting at about 30% for developed countries.

A 2019 study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that paid maternity leave keeps women in the workforce and lowers their need for public assistance.

Most developed nations pay new mothers at least half of their salary during their time off, according to a December 2022 report by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that studied maternity leave in its 38 member countries, looking at policies in place as of April 2022.

Some of these countries also offer paternity leave policies for fathers, but we're just looking at the moms.

On average, maternity leave in the OECD countries lasts 18.5 weeks. Only one developed country — the United States — offers no national paid maternity leave, although some individual states and employers do offer it.

The 2022 OECD data also lists maternity-leave policies for five countries beyond its member countries, but this extra data was not included when it calculated the average number.

Here is a snapshot of paid maternity leave in 43 countries around the world, according to OECD data and listed alphabetically.

Australia: 12 weeks

melbourne australia city skyline
Melbourne, Australia.f11photo/Shutterstock

Australians get 12 weeks of paid maternity leave at the average pay rate of 43.1% of their salary, which comes out to about 5.2 weeks of full-time pay, according to the OECD.

Austria: 16 weeks

Vienna Austria
Vienna, Austria.Brian Kinney/Shutterstock

Austria pays new mothers 100% of their salary for 16 weeks.

There is, however, one caveat: Maternity leave must start eight weeks before the due date, according to the country's government website.

Belgium: 15 weeks

Brussels Belgium
Brussels, Belgium.ilolab/Shutterstock

In Belgium, the 15 weeks of maternity leave are paid at a rate of 64.7% of the previous salary. This equates to 9.7 weeks with full-time pay.

Business Insider reported in 2020 that Belgian moms, however, can opt to take eight months of part-time leave instead of the 15 full weeks.

Bulgaria: 58.6 weeks

Plovdiv Bulgaria
Plovdiv, Bulgaria.Nataliya Nazarova/Shutterstock

This Eastern European country, which is not an OECD member country, gives new mothers a whopping 58.6 weeks — more than a year — of paid maternity leave, according to the OECD.

The pay rate is 90% of the mother's previous full-time salary, which comes out to about 52.7 weeks off with full-time pay.

Canada: 17 weeks

Calgary skyline at night with Bow River and Centre Street Bridge.
Calgary, Canada.Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock

The US's neighbor to the north offers new mothers 17 weeks off at 39.5% pay or 6.3 weeks at full-time pay.

Chile: 18 weeks

santiago chile
Santiago, Chile.Jose Luis Stephens/Shutterstock

New moms in Chile receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave at 100% of their former salary.

Colombia: 18 weeks

The urban skyline of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast of Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia.Alex Robinson Photography/Getty Images

Colombians, like Chileans, get 18 weeks of paid maternity leave at 100% of their salary.

Costa Rica: 17.3 weeks

Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica - Aerial Drone shot of Flamingo Beach North Ridge
Playa Flamingo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica.Stefan Neumann/Shutterstock

In Costa Rica, mothers are guaranteed 17.3 weeks of fully-paid maternity leave.

Croatia: 30 weeks

zagreb croatia
Zagreb, Croatia.Dreamer4787/Shutterstock

Croatia sits on the higher end of the spectrum by offering 30 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.

Croatia is also not an OECD member country, but its maternity leave is well above the OECD average, which is 18.5 weeks.

Cyprus: 18 weeks

Paphos, Cyprus.Oleksandr Savchuk/Shutterstock

This island country, also not an OECD member country, gives new mothers 18 weeks of maternity leave.

Moms are paid 72% of their salary, which would come out to 13 weeks off if they are fully paid.

Czech Republic: 28 weeks

Prague Christmas
Prague, Czech Republic.cge2010/Shutterstock

The Czech Republic pays new mothers 63.7% of their salary for 28 weeks, making the equivalent time off with full-time pay 17.8 weeks.

Denmark: 18 weeks

nyhavn copenhagen denmark
Copenhagen, Denmark.Wila_Photo/Shutterstock

New moms in Denmark get 18 weeks off work and are paid 50.7% of their salary.

That comes out to 9.1 weeks at full-time pay.

Those 18 weeks break down to four weeks before the birth and 14 weeks after, Business Insider reported.

Estonia: 14.3 weeks

tallin estonia
Tallinn, Estonia.RossHelen/Shutterstock

Estonia, a European country just west of Russia, provides 14.3 weeks of leave at a 100% pay rate, according to the OECD.

Finland: 17.5 weeks

Helsinki Finland
Helsinki, Finland.Scanrail1/Shutterstock

The Finns get 17.5 weeks off for maternity leave at 74.6% pay. This would equate to 13.1 weeks of fully paid time off.

France: 16 weeks

Eiffel Tower with boat on Seine in Paris, France
Paris, France.Tomas Marek/Shutterstock

Mothers in France get 16 weeks off after the birth of their baby, paid at an average of 91.4% of their previous salary. This equates to 14.6 weeks paid at a full-time rate.

But fewer French people are having babies, as the birth rate fell by 7% in the first half of 2023, Le Monde reported.

Germany: 14 weeks

berlin germany
Berlin, Germany.S.Borisov/Shutterstock

German mothers are guaranteed 14 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.

In 2020, Germany's fertility rate was at its highest in over 40 years, Statista reported.

Greece: 43 weeks

View of Oia town in Santorini island in Greece -- Greek landscape
Santorini, Greece.Roman Sigaev/Shutterstock

Greece provides mothers with 43 weeks off and pays them 65.1% of their previous salary, which comes out to 28 weeks with full-time pay.

Hungary: 24 weeks

Budapest, Hungary St. Stephen's Basilica
Budapest, Hungary.Giantrabbit/Shutterstock

In Hungary, you're guaranteed 24 weeks off as a new mother with 100% of your salary.

Iceland: 26 weeks

Iceland's unique landscape.
Kirkjufell, Iceland.Guitar photographer/Shutterstock

Iceland's 26 weeks of maternity leave come with a 71.3% pay rate, which would be 18.5 weeks at a full-time salary.

Ireland: 26 weeks

shannon river limerick ireland
Limerick, Ireland.Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

The lucky Irish mothers get 26 weeks of maternity leave, but they're paid just 25.7 % of their salary.

If they are fully paid, that leave would come out to 6.7 weeks.

Israel: 14 weeks

Skyline of the Old City at the Western Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Israel.
Jerusalem, Israel.Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

In Israel, maternity leave is guaranteed for 15 weeks with 100% pay. That is more than 3 months of paid leave.

Israel's fertility rate is the highest among OECD countries, even exceeding that of several underdeveloped countries, Haaretz reported.


Italy: 21.7 weeks

bologna italy
Bologna, Italy.Roman Sigaev/Shutterstock

Eighty percent of the 21.7 weeks of maternity leave offered comes out to 17.4 weeks of fully paid salary for the average Italian mother.

Births in Italy hit a record low in 2022, Reuters reported.

Japan: 14 weeks

tokyo japan skyline
Tokyo, Japan.r.nagy/Shutterstock

Japanese mothers get 14 weeks off for maternity leave, and they're paid 67% of their previous salary. The equivalent with full pay would be 9.4 weeks.

The rates of birth in Japan are at a record low, NPR reported in June.

Korea: 12.9 weeks

seoul south korea
Seoul, South Korea.nami chwang/Shutterstock

In South Korea, the allotted maternity leave is 12.9 weeks at 83.7% pay. This works out to 10.8 weeks of fully paid leave.

South Koreans are having fewer babies than ever, CNN reported, with the fertility rate in 2022 dropping to a record low of 0.78 — countries need a fertility rate of 2.1 for population numbers to remain steady, CNN reported. That is even lower than that of Japan, the "grayest" nation in the world, The New York Times reported.

Latvia: 16 weeks

Panoramic view of the old city of Riga, Latvia from the tower Church of St. Peter.
Riga, Latvia.Nick N A/Shutterstock

This Northern European country provides 16 weeks of maternity leave at a pay rate of 80%. This would be 12.8 weeks at a full-time salary.

Lithuania: 18 weeks

vilinus lithuania
Vilnius, Lithuania.Scanrail1/Shutterstock

This county in northeastern Europe grants mothers 18 weeks of maternity leave — nearly the OECD average — paid at the rate of 77.6% of their full salary, or 14 weeks. Lithuania, however, is not an OECD member country.

Luxembourg: 20 weeks

Luxembourg, Luxembourg.RossHelen/Shutterstock

This tiny European country assures mothers 20 weeks off, fully paid. This is two weeks more than the OECD average.

Malta: 18 weeks

The traditional houses and walls of Valletta, the capital city of Malta
Valletta, Malta.ZGPhotography/Shutterstock

Malta, which is not an OECD member country, offers its moms 18 weeks off for maternity leave and they're paid at 86.3% of their salary. This is 15.5 weeks that they are fully paid.

Mexico: 12 weeks

frontal aerial view of the statue of the angel of independence on Reforma Avenue with Chapultepec forest in the background
Mexico City, Mexico.Aberu.Go/Shutterstock

Mexico assures its new mothers 12 weeks of maternity leave at a 100% pay rate. Mexican mothers are also given their full salary at just 6.5 weeks under the OECD average.

Netherlands: 16 weeks

amsterdam netherlands canals
Amsterdam, Netherlands.S.Borisov/Shutterstock

The Netherlands offers its new moms 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave. Maternity leave in the Netherlands usually starts four to six weeks before the due date.

New Zealand: 26 weeks

Wellington Cable Car, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand.Milosz Maslanka/Shutterstock

Currently, New Zealand offers new mothers up to 26 weeks of paid leave at 48.9% pay. That comes out to 12.7 weeks of fully paid time off.

Norway: 18 weeks

The Oslo Norway Harbor is situated on the Oslo Fjord in Oslo, Norway.
Oslo, Norway.Kenyeres Zsolt/Shutterstock

Norwegian mothers are allowed 18 weeks off and they're paid their full salary.

Poland: 20 weeks

wroclaw poland
Wroclaw, Poland.Lukasz Stefanski/Shutterstock

In Poland, maternity leave comes in at 20 weeks — and mothers are paid their full salary.

Portugal: 6 weeks

woman in portugal
Lisbon, Portugal.RossHelen/Shutterstock

This Southern European country offers six weeks of maternity leave, well below the OECD average.

Those six weeks are, however, fully paid.

Romania: 18 weeks

bucharest romania
Bucharest, Romania.Andrii Lutsyk/Shutterstock

Romania, also not an OECD member country, offers mothers 18 weeks off and pays them a rate of 85% of their salary.

In fully paid time off, this would amount to 15.3 weeks.

Slovakia: 34 weeks

bratislava slovakia
Bratislava, Slovakia.emperorcosar/Shutterstock

Officially the Slovak Republic, Slovakia promises new mothers 34 weeks of leave. That's nearly eight months at 75% of their payment rate, which comes out to 25.5 fully paid weeks.

Slovenia: 15 weeks

Aerial view of Ljubljana's castle at sunset in Slovenia
Ljubljana, Slovenia.S-F/Shutterstock

Slovenian mothers get 15 weeks of leave and they're paid their full salary.

Spain: 16 weeks

madrid spain
Madrid, Spain.emperorcosar/Shutterstock

Spanish moms get 16 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.

Sweden: 12.9 weeks

Stockholm Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden.Scanrail1/Shutterstock

In Sweden, mothers get 12.9 weeks off and are paid at a rate of 77.6% of their salary. This works out to 10 fully paid weeks.

Switzerland: 14 weeks

bern switzerland
Bern, Switzerland.b-hide the scene/Shutterstock

Maternity leave in Switzerland is 14 weeks with a pay rate of 53.9%.

That corresponds with 7.6 weeks off with full pay.

Turkey: 16 weeks

Mardin old town at dusk in Turkey
Mardin, Turkey.muratart/Shutterstock

Turkish moms get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. The pay rate is 100% of their salary.

United Kingdom: 39 weeks

Big Ben and Westminster Bridge in the Evening, London, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom.ansharphoto/Shutterstock

Mothers in the UK are allowed up to a whole year off for maternity leave, but only the first 39 weeks are paid — at a rate of 29.5% of their salary, which equals 11.5 fully paid weeks.


United States: 0 weeks

Washington DC
Washington, DC, United States of America.Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

There's no sugarcoating it — the US is the only country in the developed world that doesn't guarantee any paid maternity leave for mothers, according to the OECD, and the only high-income country without one.

The US has no federal law guaranteeing women (or men) paid time off after they have a baby. Instead, they leave it up to employers. Only about 24 percent of employees in the private sector workforce have access to paid family leave, the Center for American Progress reported, citing 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

A 2019 study for the March of Dimes Center for Social Science Research found that US states with paid-leave policies in place found a 20% reduction in the number of female employees leaving their jobs in the first year after giving birth — and up to a 50% reduction after five years.

Research suggests that introducing paid leave for parents as a statutory right would improve the health and economic situation of women and children. It would also positively impact growth prospects in the American economy, research shows.


Read the original article on Insider