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Paid Maternity Leave By Country: The Complete Guide for Global HR Teams

By May 15, 2023May 17th, 2023No Comments
Pregnant woman holding her belly and awaiting maternity leave

Paid maternity leave undoubtedly improves employee wellbeing and talent retention, making it a necessary employee benefit that companies should offer talent across the globe.

Several countries even entitle local employees to fully paid maternity leave while others entitle partial payment—but some countries don’t mandate paid maternity leave at all.

Global HR teams face the unique challenge of understanding international employment laws while administering competitive leave packages that help retain talent and comply with maternity leave mandates across the globe.

This guide breaks down paid (and unpaid) maternity leave in different countries and outlines the key considerations for administering supplemental parental leave to a global workforce.

Countries With 100% Paid Maternity Leave

Maternity leave requirements vary worldwide in terms of leave duration and compensation.

Below is a list of countries that guarantee new mothers 100% of their salary or wage throughout the entire maternity leave period:

Countries With No Paid Maternity Leave

On the other hand, seven countries offer no federal compensation guarantees for maternity leave.

Below is a comprehensive list of these countries:

  • United States
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Tonga

Countries With the Longest Maternity Leave

The following countries* offer the longest maternity leave duration:

*Other sources: World Population Review, Vacation Tracker

Maternity Leave in the United States

The U.S. provides fewer maternity leave protections than any other industrialized nation.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers with 50 or more employees to offer workers a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave each year. However, this is the country’s only federal mandate governing parental leave.

U.S. federal law generally treats parental leave as a supplemental benefit, leaving specific leave conditions up to employers.

Despite the lack of federal guarantees, several U.S. states offer additional maternity leave protections beyond the FMLA minimums.

U.S. States With Paid Maternity Leave

The following U.S. states offer qualifying employees additional maternity leave benefits:

  • California: 6 weeks at 55% pay
  • Colorado: 12 weeks at 90% pay
  • Connecticut: 12 weeks at 95% pay
  • Delaware: 12 weeks at 80% pay, with a $900 weekly cap
  • Massachusetts: 12 weeks at 80% pay
  • Maryland: 12 weeks at 90% pay, with a $1,000 weekly cap
  • New Jersey: 12 weeks at 85% pay, with a $1,025 weekly cap
  • New York: 12 weeks at 67% pay
  • Oregon: 12 weeks at 100% pay
  • Rhode Island: 4 weeks at 60% pay
  • Washington: 12 weeks at 90% pay

Additionally, Georgia and South Carolina offer paid parental leave to state employees for three and six weeks, respectively.

Maternity Leave in Other Countries Around the World

In addition to the countries we covered above, below is a list of maternity leave benefits in several other countries:

  • Australia: 18 weeks at the national minimum wage
  • China: 14 weeks at 80% to 100% pay, depending on the employer’s location and industry
  • Italy: 20 weeks at 80% pay
  • Saudi Arabia: 10 weeks at 50% pay (women employed for three years or more receive 100% pay)
  • Thailand: 14 weeks at 100% pay for the first 45 days, then 50% pay for the remainder
  • United Arab Emirates: 8.6 weeks at 100% pay for the first 45 days, then 50% pay for the remainder

Which Countries Offer Paid Paternity Leave?

While maternity leave has been a standard employee benefit worldwide for more than a century, many countries have also started to adopt paternity leave benefits over the past decade.

The cultural ideology of paternity leave is evolving, and fathers are taking on a greater role in raising their children. Today, 90 out of 187 countries offer statutory paid paternity leave.

The following countries* offer the most generous leave entitlements to new fathers:

  • Canada: 5 weeks at 55%
  • Estonia: 4.2 weeks at 100% pay, capped at three times the average gross monthly salary
  • France: 16 weeks at 100% pay
  • Iceland: 26 weeks at 80% pay
  • Japan: One year at 67% pay for the first 180 days, then 50% pay for the remainder
  • Lithuania: 4.2 weeks at 77.58% pay
  • Norway: 15 weeks at 100% pay or 19 weeks at 80% pay
  • Slovenia: 22.9 weeks at 100% pay
  • Spain: 16 weeks at 100% pay
  • Sweden: 34.2 at 80% pay

*Other sources: European Commission

Like maternity leave, paternity leave benefits have become vital to international talent acquisition and retention strategies.

Providing Supplemental Parental Leave: Considerations for Global Companies

International companies seeking to offer supplemental parental leave to their global workforce face advantages like greater talent retention. However, they also risk noncompliance.

Below, we outline the key considerations for administering supplemental parental leave to an international workforce.

Attract and Retain Top Talent

Today, talent desires more than essential statutory benefits. They seek an employer who can provide peace of mind, improve their quality of life, and make them feel valued at work.

While global expansion gives employers access to a larger talent pool, it also means greater competition for talent. Offering supplemental parental leave strengthens your global benefits offering and gives you a competitive edge for attracting and retaining top talent in any market.

Download our guide to learn how offering comprehensive benefits packages helps you attract and retain top talent.

Support Employees’ Mental Health and Wellbeing

By offering additional parental leave, global employers leave a lasting impact on their employees’ financial security and mental health.

In jurisdictions where the statutory minimums leave much to be desired, supplemental parental leave helps employees feel financially secure as they take on the challenge of raising children.

With the added peace of mind, employees feel valued and become more loyal, engaged, and productive when they return to work.

Maintain Compliance With International Employment Laws

Employment laws vary worldwide, posing significant compliance risks for companies operating or hiring talent in multiple jurisdictions.

When administering parental leave benefits to global teams, international organizations must navigate the local employment laws of each country where they engage talent.

Inadvertently overlooking local regulations leads to fines, limited business opportunities, and other noncompliance penalties.

Learn more: How to Stay Compliant When Hiring Internationally

Work With a Global Employee Benefits Partner

Many global companies partner with an employer of record (EoR) to provide locally-tailored parental leave benefits and ensure compliance across multiple jurisdictions.

An EoR is a third-party organization that supports global companies throughout the entire lifecycle of international expansion, from hiring and onboarding to running global payroll and providing ongoing HR support.

A vetted EoR has the local knowledge to advise on region-specific parental leave requirements and norms while administering global benefits and ensuring compliance on your behalf.

By partnering with an EoR, you can compliantly build and support global teams without increasing your workload.

Learn more: What Is an Employer of Record?

Simplify Benefits Administration Anywhere With Velocity Global

Administering parental leave benefits for international teams is a nuanced endeavor that involves serious compliance risks. Eliminate the complexity and risk by partnering with Velocity Global.

Velocity Global’s integrated Global Benefits solution provides curated, competitive benefits to talent in 185+ countries. Our team of experts crafts and administers locally tailored rewards packages that attract top candidates and comply with international labor laws.

As a part of our Global Employer of Record (EoR) solution, we also handle onboarding, payroll, ongoing HR support, and risk mitigation on your behalf so you can quickly grow and support your international workforce with peace of mind.

Contact Velocity Global to learn how to administer and manage parental leave benefits worldwide with ease.