Maternity Leave Around The World

March 8, 2019

For women worldwide, International Women’s Day celebrations today will again focus minds on paid parental leave aimed at enabling working parents to spend more time at home with a new baby in those vital early months.

And while there has been a steady improvement in Parental Leave Pay in Australia since its introduction in 2011 a new comparison study have again reinforced how we are miles behind many other developed countries, particularly in Europe.

In fact Australia’s Parental Leave Pay for new parents doesn’t come within cooee of such countries as Sweden, Norway, Croatia and Serbia to name just a few.

American women are worse off than in Australia with most women relying  on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which protects women’s jobs for up to 12 weeks after childbirth or adoption. However it doesn’t guarantee pay for the time off.

The Australian Paid Parental Leave scheme provides eligible parents with up to 18 weeks’ of Parental Leave Pay at the National Minimum Wage. The amount is currently $719.35 a week before tax.

In Australia, eligible parents can access 18 weeks of Parental Leave Pay following the birth or adoption of their baby. Moves are afoot to make the payments more flexible.

A proposal to stop so-called ‘double-dipping’ never went ahead leaving parents free to access PPL even if their employer also offers paid maternity leave.

The Paid Parental Leave comparisons, below, were composed by flexible workspace specialists Instant Offices to celebrate International Women’s Day, and the call for a better gender-balanced world in the workplace.

European countries are some of the most progressive for maternity leave and working mothers.

Sweden offers one of the most progressive working environments for parents, which exceeds international standards.

Parents are entitled to up to 80% of their regular pay for 390 of the 480 days of maternity leave provided, while mothers in jobs that require heavy lifting, or more risky work are also entitled to take time off earlier during their pregnancy.

Norway offers 49 weeks with 100% pay or 59 weeks with 80% pay. Mastering the art of the work-life balance, the Norwegian Parliament decided to increase the quota of paternity and maternity leave for new parents in 2018. Parents now reive 49 weeks of leave at 100% pay or 59 weeks at 80%.

Croatia offers a year of paid maternity leave with 100% pay. In addition to a year of being able to bond with a newborn, full paid parental leave is available for 120 days in Croatia.

Serbian mothers are entitled to 20 weeks of leave at full pay after giving birth, with an additional year after that, however lowering over time:

  • For the first 26 weeks – 100% pay
  • Weeks 27 – 39 – 60% pay
  • Weeks 40 – 52 – 30% pay

On the other end of the scale, some of the countries with the shortest maternity leave/least benefits include:

Philippines – Previously only six weeks, the Philippines has recently extended the law for paid maternity leave to 105 days.


  • Founded in 1999 the Instant Group is a workspace innovation company that rethinks workspace on behalf of its clients injecting flexibility, reducing cost and driving enterprise performance.



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