Best Maternity Leave Policies

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Best Maternity Leave Policies

Where do you find the best maternity leave policies in the world?  I was shocked to find that there are still countries that do not even have laws that govern maternity leave in this day and age.

Best maternity leave policies

Maternity Leave – How Does Your Country Stack Up?

I was beyond shocked to find out that there are still countries  that do not have mandated paid maternity leave.   I was even more shocked when I saw a specific country on the list, I will not say which – I think I will hold my tongue on this one.  Here are the four countries so you judge for yourself: Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland and USA.

Now I am not saying that we are to blindly hand out maternity leave just like that but I think every country should have something in place.   I am from a developing country and we have maternity leave so I just though this was the norm all over the world. Some countries have even gone a step further to include the fathers so imagine my shock when I found out that there are countries that are not even including the mothers. This Infographic does a great job of showing where some countries stand when it comes to maternity leave.   Take a look at it and leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Stories like this makes me cringe and makes me wonder if the persons who are making the laws do not have wives or children.

When Kim Knoblauch gave birth to her first child in the US in 2006, the only maternity leave pay she received was a month’s worth of accrued vacation and sick time. And then when she was ready to return to work, she found her job no longer existed. Since her employer was a small company, it didn’t have to adhere to federal laws that require 12 weeks of job protection after the birth of a child. (Thebump.com)

This story is in sharp contrast to the one this same person had a couple years later when she had her baby in Germany.

Four years later, Knoblauch had a very different postpartum experience. Her husband’s job had brought the family to Germany. This qualified them for Deutschland’s drool-inducing list of maternity and postpartum benefits.(Thebump.com)

 

schwangerer Bauch

Approximately 178 countries around the world provide paid maternity leave that is protected by law.   Many of these countries are not even developed countries, yet they take the time to provide for these women who have to take a few months off now and then.   I want to just single out Germany for a minute as they have done a great job where this is concerned.  This is not to say that other countries are not also doing a fantastic job.

Basically the Mutterschutzgesetz, Maternity Protection Act of 1968 was instituted to ensure that expecting mothers are not discriminated against when applying for jobs and to provide them with added protection from being dismissed from work as a result of their pregnancy or arrival of their newborn child. This law actually goes well beyond that fundamental claim and provides much more.

This law allows expectant mothers to pretty much start their maternity leave six weeks before the birth.   They even go further by stating that these women are allowed two paid thirty minute breaks to pump milk; this break is different from lunch time.  This right here will make many women think of packing up and moving to Germany, especially if they are from certain countries. Germany has one of the best maternity leave policies in the world.

Best maternity leave policies

So how does your country stack up when it comes to best maternity leave policies?  Do you know what your family is entitled to should there be a new baby on the way? Here is information for my country.   What about you?

 

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Resources

Maternity Leave and Benefits Around the World.  Retrieved from http://www.thebump.com/a/maternity-leave-around-the-world

Paid maternity leave.  Retrieved from http://womenandtech.com/infographic-paid-maternity-leave/

 


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137 Responses

  1. She Joh says:

    It’s unfortunate the United States has among the worst maternity leave policies. I’ve heard places like Switzerland give a year. In those regards, I wish the United States mirrored some of the other countries with the maternity leave policy.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      She Joh, I agree with you. It does not have to be 1 year but at least it should be reasonable

  2. this is an awesome read with some great information. i think all women who are going to have a child should read this.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Dawn, I think so too….we should at least be aware of our rights before doing anything

  3. tauyanm says:

    this must be shared to everyone! sharing it! it is nice to know this to the rights if pregnant ladies are working

  4. Amber Nelson says:

    Moms need rest after giving birth and then adjusting to having life with baby. It is a huge life change!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Amber and I don’t know what is so hard for everyone to understand. If men were having babies they would get an entire year

  5. UK is catching up to Germany I think. I got a whopping 8 months fully paid maternity leave and I cold pass some on to Papa so he got a month of that plus the 2 weeks he got too. I was so grateful for those 6 wks we spent together learning to nurture our lil second bundle of joy. We had our first in Africa…dont even ask! So I hope USA brushed up cos thats a crying shame!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Julie that is great news….I don’t know what to say about those other places

  6. My husband had two weeks of Paternity leave. #lifechanging I wish all dads got paternity leave, it’s such a precious bonding time.

  7. I was out of work for a month when I had my daughter but none of it was paid, unfortunately. That’s why I couldn’t stay out a full 6 weeks. I couldn’t afford it.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Dawn that is really sad….too many mothers have to choose between putting food on the table and staying how a few months with their newborn

  8. We have 2 months worth of leave here if regular birth and 2.5 if caesarian. It’s hard because it really takes more than just 2 months to get everything in order. Luckily, we do still have it as some countries don’t.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Kathy that is what I am saying. We still have to count our blessings because some have none at all

  9. Becca Wilson says:

    I was fortunate that when I was working my maternity leave was great. I had 12 full weeks which is very unheard of in the US. Although part of it was half pay, I was okay with that. I had paid time off and my newborn got the attention she needed for 3 whole months after she was born.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Becca good for you. That sounds like what we get in Jamaica and if you have vacation days accrued you can also take that along with it

  10. Paula says:

    I took about 3 months off. My leave was extended a bit because at least in California there is more family leave time off if you have a C-Section (honestly, the last thing I wanted). I also decided not to return to my previous employer after I went back to work, so some of my leave was by choice and not covered by any sort of employer or federal leave pay.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Paula ….I know that is the last thing most of us want…LOL…thankfully California has the sense to give additional time because that is a hard road to travel

  11. Anosa says:

    What a shame that most don’t have maternity policy especially the US. In the UK and most of Europe we are privileged I think

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Anosa I hope everyone realize that they are indeed privileged to have maternity leave and so much more than many other places

  12. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    I hope by the time my daughter has her babies that things in the US change. The thought of going back to work only after 6 weeks after my son was born was too much for me and I ended up staying home.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Reesa at least you had that option to decide to stay home. Some mothers cannot even consider it based on their economic condition…..SIGH

  13. Crystal Gard says:

    It’s very surprising that not everywhere has laws to govern maternity leave. I’m glad where I am does.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Crystal it is a great thing to live somewhere that they take these things into consideration. It is a very important thing

  14. This should be mandatory in every country! Too bad politicians are no focusing in this

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Ana if those politicians were having the babies they would give the maximum time to stay home….but since they are not it is not important to them

  15. MomJonz says:

    Maternity leave…ohhhhh, I remember the days. I remember after having our first daughter I couldn’t go back to work, I just couldn’t leave here. When we had our other two, I told my boss I needed 5-6 months home with them and they agreed. I don’t think maternity leave is long enough in the US

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      MomJonz…that is good to hear that they agreed to that. So many women are struggling with this right now. We can only hope that things will get better

  16. Lisa Rios says:

    I agree with you that there are many countries where they don’t have a clear guidance on maternity leave policies. It is great that some dads too get paternity leave in some countries where as the importance of such leaves is ignored in many places.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Lisa amazing that some places go beyond to include even the dads. While on the other hand some countries have not even included the mothers….

  17. Rosey says:

    I love that some dads get paternity leave too. I think my son had that when his wife delivered. We lived in different states at the time, but I’m pretty sure he did.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Rosey that is fantastic news that your son got to be included with the paternity leave

  18. Rebecca Swenor says:

    I don’t remember how much time I got off from work when I had my first son. My second son I was not working. Germany is a great example for what other countries should follow as far as maternity leave policies. Thanks for sharing the information and your opinion.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Rebecca and thank you for taking the time to read my post and leaving a meaningful comment

  19. CourtneyLynne says:

    Maternity leave here in the states definitely sucks compared to other countries in the world. Definitely wish it was longer here

  20. Whitney S says:

    I’m not a mom yet. I work from home though. I couldn’t imagine how difficult it is and how frustrating it is for women who don’t get paid leave. It must feel awful. Not only has their life changed and they have a baby to take care of, but now they have to worry about their job 🙁

  21. Liz Mays says:

    It’s definitely not very good here in the U.S. I wish it was a lot longer to allow for better bonding.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Liz you are right….mothers have to be out the door even before any bonding take place in order to put food on the table

  22. Jenna says:

    Maternity leave in the US is a joke. I don’t understand why the government and more companies aren’t getting the memo that maternity leave would actually help the economy in addition to benefiting the families. Makes me want to move.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Jenna I don’t understand either….why there is such a stance against this.

  23. Wendy says:

    I never personally experienced this because I was working for myself when all of my kids were born. It is really interesting how different policies are across the world.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Wendy thank your lucky stars because it cannot be easy for a pregnant woman to be worrying whether or not her job will be there after maternity leave.

  24. Nicole Escat says:

    I wish we have the best maternity policy in the Philippines. It is so sad that a mother who recent gave birth had to go to work soon.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Nicole it is beyond sad. I often wonder what if women decided that they were not having any more kids until things change. What would that country do?

  25. I believe the benefits of having Maternity Leaves just got better in my homeland Philippines. I too, am shocked to see a certain country in that list and it’s something no one is really talking about until I saw this. Sad, but good to know and well-worth sharing.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Karla I am always happy when I read comments like this. Thanks for sharing

  26. Nikki Jenner says:

    I hope that they will consider more for the maternity leave’s privilege. I mean, if they can extend a little bit especially for lactating mothers.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Nikki more can be done if they want to do it. If men were giving birth it would have been done a long time ago

  27. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    Maternity leave is so important. Many companies provide people with great options in terms of maternity care.

  28. Eugenia says:

    Maternity leave is so important, it’s so sad to hear some countries don’t have such polices. Germany really cares about women!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Eugenia I am happy to note that there are several other countries with policies similar to Germany

  29. Heather says:

    I think that it is sad that so many people don’t experience good benefits for maternity leave. The company I worked for was very accommodating, but I know that isn’t every person’s experience.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Heather I am so glad to hear that your company is so accommodating. That is really great news

  30. Thanks for sharing these policies. I know there are so many countries that have great policies, I just wish everyone would get on board!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Audrey it is just amazing that persons cannot see the benefit in this. I realize that when the thing affects men, more is done and that is the bottom line

  31. Amanda Love says:

    I know that the US has one of the worst. In countries like Canada and even the UK you can get up to 6 months while we’re only given a month here, unless you want to stay at home without pay. Ugghhh!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Amanda the average family cannot afford that so back to work after a month is usually the case. Vacation leave is also not a lot so even if the person takes vacation leave that might just be another 2 weeks

  32. lalaine says:

    I think mothers are leaving their newborn way too early to go back to work because of job and money issues. I am glad you shared this, very good to know for new mothers out there

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Lalaine….a lot of thought has to go into this especially if you are the bread winner in that family.

  33. Lexie Lane says:

    All companies should provide paid maternity leave. Plus, it should also be extended as little ones need extra care at their first months.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Lexie I don’t think many companies are even thinking about all of that. Bottom line drives most decisions

  34. Carmela Mempin says:

    I don’t have a baby and I still single, but these article looks interesting and I love it. Thank you for sharing this to us

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Carmela you are most welcome and thank you too for taking the time to read and leave a comment

  35. Interesting topic! According to me there should be maternity leave of at-least 8 months with some percentage of salary in all companies either its big or small!

  36. Echo says:

    I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. However, I always wondered why the US didn’t offer anything at all.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Echo I am wondering the same too considering I am from a developing country and we offer that

  37. Debra says:

    I am really lucky to be a freelancer so I could take as much time as I needed. I think maternity leave needs to be overhauled.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Debra yes it does and that is why more persons should seek to be freelancers if you ask me

  38. doran says:

    Interesting topic. I didn’t know much about maternity leave before your article.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Doran I think most people don’t really think about it. However if you are the breadwinner it can be a serious problem

  39. Kathy says:

    I honestly think all places should have paid maternity leave. I know that around here they don’t always do it either, and it’s irritating. I think everyone should be able to continue to get paid while they’re at home with their newborns for a few weeks at least.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Kathy I think it is a basic right if you ask me. What if women decided they are not having any more kids unless they are assured of leave with pay….where would that nation be?

  40. Sophia says:

    Yes each country is different. I heard some countries have several months of leave.

  41. I didn’t see an infographic when the page loaded. I’m in the US and was quite familiar with what my rights were when I got pregnant. 25 years ago when I learned not everyone shared the same I was surprised.

  42. My country, the one that I am proud to have chosen to become a citizen of – Canada – has paid maternity leave. My daughter recently had the benefit of staying home and giving her daughter a great start for one year with a 50+% of her pay. I really am proud of Canada and the level of respect given to women…not complete but more than many.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Claudette, I agree with you Canada is a family friendly place and that is why I love Canada.

  43. Jenn says:

    Thankfully I was able to stay home when my babies were born since I ran my own business. I wish more companies in the US had better leave options, making it easier for new mommies.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Jenn I wish so too…hopefully someone will make a change one of these days

  44. I was lucky as I ran a daycare out of my home at the time my son was born. All my moms were really helpful in getting my back into working mood.

  45. wendy says:

    Where I work offers maternity leave, but getting the pay you have to pull teeth out. I have heard it also depends on who you work for.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Wendy and all this could have been taken care of if it was mandated. Of course concession should be made for smaller companies

  46. angie says:

    very interesting reading to find out where we are at. I have a boss that says that pregnancy is not a disease it is a condition

  47. Neely Moldovan says:

    Thankfully I work for myself but my husband has a great paternity leave policiy at work!

  48. Michele says:

    Shocking to say the least–but then US employers don’t like to hire woman with children (they just do not say that is why the person dies not get the job) I am also not surprised that the US is so far behind other countries-it is left up to the ind employer. I do have to say that some are now giving Dad’s family leave as well.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Michele I know some businesses are doing a great job even when it is not mandated. I know that this can be a struggle for smaller businesses but at the very least you should not have to worry about your job being there when you get back to work

  49. Jay Simms says:

    These are really great. Luckily, I wasn’t working when I had both of my girls. My husband did get a paid vacation for a few days when we had the kids.

  50. Pamela says:

    We didn’t have maternity leaves when my children were born. I was a full time momma so it wasn’t something I thought about. I’m thankful the mothers today have more options. My niece has been able to stay home with her baby for 4 months.

  51. chris says:

    Grateful I live in the UK. It’s pretty good here as the state pay, if a company doesn’t.

  52. I’ve always wondered why the US does not offer a longer amount of time for maternity leave – especially when compared to some other countries. Germanby really does have an awesome policy -0 wisgh we’d do the same here. At the same time though, we are fortunate here in the US compared to those countries who hardly offer anything at all.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Alaina yes there are some programs in the USA that can help. I think, as I stated before, that many women would cope more if they were at least assured that they had a job after having that baby

  53. Here in Canada we get a years maternity leave but it’s only a portion of what you make a year. Plus employers have to guarantee you a position when you come back.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Heather and that is only fair…in fact that is more than fair. The fact that you have to be on maternity leave and worried if you will have a job is so not good

  54. I had no idea there are countries that don’t offer paid maternity leaves. Germany indeed has the best maternity leave policies.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Inspiring Kitchen, there are many other countries that are doing a great job with this. Just saw notes from other commenters and I am very pleased

  55. Sweden offers 56 weeks paid maternity leave. Amazing! It would definitely ensure that the child is properly cared for by the mother before she goes back to work.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Annemarie you are so right. I don’t suppose they are suffering because they give all that time either

  56. I am working through this in the US right now, actually. Due with twins over the summer, and I work for a small company who does not have to comply with the mandates. I am also their first employee to ever be pregnant! Thankfully we have a great working relationship, and they are currently building a maternity policy around me. We shall see how it turns out!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Kristen I am so happy to hear you say that and that company needs to be commended. Do share if you can how it turns out

  57. Elizabeth O. says:

    Some countries really have a better understanding of maternity leaves, while others don’t. I really think companies should reconsider their policies and see what’s best for their employees.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      ELizabeth it is all about bottom line my dear. For me and I have a small company I would definitely have a cut off point in terms of how many times a person can take maternity leave. I know in some countries it is 3 kids after that you on your own

  58. tp keane says:

    I had that you have to fight for time with your family. It’s so wrong and governments should make more stringent laws.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Sigh…TP Keane I believe so too. If men were having babies this would be sealed and settled

  59. Linda Hobden says:

    I’m in the UK – you can actually go on maternity leave for a year – I opted for this and after my paid maternity leave was up I took the rest of the time off as unpaid leave then went back to work in my same job.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Linda that is great news. As I saw just saying to another person, I think many women would be probably okay if they got no pay if they were certain that their job would be there at the end of it

  60. Sheri says:

    I live in Austria and I am about to end my maternity leave. I have been off for a year and the structure we have here is great. It is similar to Germany but better. You can go for up to two years, and you leave on maternity protection 8 weeks before birth. I consider myself extremely lucky and fortunate to live here and that I have had the time to spend with my little one.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Sheri….oh wow…this is very encouraging to women all over the world and especially in your country. You really are blest…but tell me..is there a cut off to the amount of kids each woman can have?

  61. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    Maternity leave here in the US is definitely not long enough. Especially compared to what women get in other countries.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Robin you are so right. I think a lot of women would take the short period if they were at least guaranteed that their jobs would be there afterwards

  62. It is very shocking to note that some constitutions do not value women’s pregnancy rights but it is definitely not shocking!

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Ana I am wondering who are the persons making these laws. Do they have wives? or perhaps it is because they are able to care for their wives while they have babies why it is not taken seriously

  63. victoria says:

    I think maternity leave was so important for the mom and the baby inside the tummy, pregnant mom can’t be stress at work and need to relax at home.

  64. Amy Jones says:

    I definitely didn’t know about this issue. Thanks for informing me! I’ll look up more information about it

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Amy please do, I too am going to be doing additional research on this topic

  65. oh wow!!! this is such a great post idea and so unique to your blog. So insightful, I didnt know half the stuff here hahah thanks for keeping me updated

  66. Maternity leave is something I will be looking for when I start working. I am hoping I can stay home or work part time anyways, and focus on blogging.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Chrishelle yeah blogging is a great thing for mothers who want to stay home with their kids

  67. I think maternity leave is so important. It is important for the mother to have that time to bond with her baby and get to know them.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Rachel I totally agree with you. It is also a great thing for the mum to get some well needed rest

  68. tara pittman says:

    I love the benefits in Germany. I never went back to work after kids so hard to repond.

  69. Cecile says:

    While the USA has no MANDATED paid leave, many companies do provide paid leave. I was fortunate to work for a company that had great maternity benefits.

    • mardenec@hotmail.com says:

      Cecile you are indeed fortunate. What about those who are not as fortunate?