Mother laying down with her baby on her stomach while on maternity leave

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

Table of Contents

Paid maternity leave undoubtedly improves employee well-being and talent retention, making it a key employee benefit that companies should offer talent across the globe.

Several countries guarantee employees fully paid maternity leave while others offer partial payment—but some countries don’t mandate paid maternity leave at all.

Global HR teams face the unique challenge of administering competitive leave packages to attract and secure top talent while ensuring compliance with leave mandates in each country where they hire talent.

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:


BrazilFranceNew Zealand
Costa RicaIsraelPortugal

Countries with no paid maternity leave

On the other hand, five countries offer no federal compensation guarantees for maternity leave. Below is a list of these countries:


United States
Marshall Islands
Papua New Guinea

Countries with the longest maternity leave

The following countries offer the longest maternity leave duration:


Sweden69 weeks at SEK 250 to SEK 1,116 per day
Bulgaria58.6 weeks at 90% pay
United Kingdom52 weeks at 90% pay
Canada50 weeks at 55% pay (15 weeks at 55% pay, plus 35 weeks at 55% or 61 weeks at 33% pay)
Norway49 weeks at 100% pay (or 59 weeks at 80% pay)
Slovakia34 weeks at 75% pay
Czech Republic28 to 37 weeks, depending on the number of children, at 70% pay
Croatia26 weeks at 100% pay
New Zealand26 weeks at 100% pay
Greece17 weeks at 66% pay


Download our guide to learn how offering comprehensive benefits packages that include supplemental paid parental leave and other meaningful benefits helps you attract and retain top talent:

Click to get our guide on how to retain talent with global employee benefits

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:


California8 weeks at 60% to 70% pay, depending on the income level
Colorado12 weeks at 90% pay, capped at $1,100 per week
Connecticut12 weeks at 95% of the minimum wage plus 60% of earnings above the minimum wage, capped at $941.40 per week
Delaware12 weeks at 80% pay, capped at $900 per week (starting in 2026)
Massachusetts12 weeks at about 80%, capped at $1,149.90 per week
Maryland12 weeks at varying pay rates, capped at $1,000 per week (starting in 2026)
Maine12 weeks at 66% to 90% pay, depending on the income level (starting in 2026)
Minnesota12 weeks at up to 90% pay, depending on the income level (starting in 2026)
New Jersey12 weeks at 85% pay, capped at $1,055 per week
New York12 weeks at 67% pay, capped at $1,151.16 per week
Oregon12 weeks at 100% pay, capped at $1,524 per week
Rhode Island6 weeks at about 55% pay, capped at $1,043 per week
Washington12 weeks at 90% pay, capped at $1,456 per week

Additionally, South Carolina offers 12 weeks’ paid parental leave to state employees.

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:


Australia20 weeks at the national minimum wage
China14 weeks at 100% pay
Italy20 weeks at 80% pay
Saudi Arabia10 weeks at 100% pay
Thailand14 weeks at 100% pay for the first 45 days
United Arab Emirates8.6 weeks at 100% pay for the first 45 days, then 50% pay for the remainder

Which countries offer paid paternity leave?

Maternity leave has been a standard employee benefit worldwide for more than a century. However, many countries have also started offering paternity leave benefits within the past decade.

The cultural ideology of paternity leave is evolving, and fathers are taking on a more significant role in raising their children. In 2023, about half of the countries worldwide offer statutory paid paternity leave.

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


Canada5 weeks at 55%, capped at CA$650 per week
Estonia4.3 weeks at varying rates, depending on how much social tax the employee pays, capped at €4,733.53
France3.6 weeks at about 70% pay, capped at €3,864 per month
Iceland26 weeks at 80% pay, capped at ISK 600,000 per month
Japan4 weeks at 67% pay, capped at ¥15,190 per day, extendable up to 52 weeks
Lithuania      4.3 weeks at 77.58% pay
Norway49 weeks at 100% pay (or 59 weeks at 80% pay)
Slovenia4.3 weeks at 100% pay
Spain16 weeks at 100% pay
Sweden240 days with 195 days at 100% pay and the remaining days at 180 SEK/day

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

Providing supplemental maternity and paternity leave: Considerations for global companies

International companies seeking to offer supplemental parental leave to their global workforce enjoy advantages like greater talent retention. However, they also face risks, such as 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.

Support employees’ mental health and well-being

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

Supplemental parental leave enhances employees' financial security as they navigate the challenge of raising children, especially in jurisdictions where the statutory minimums fall short.

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

The simplest way to provide locally tailored parental leave benefits while ensuring compliance across multiple jurisdictions is to partner with an employer of record (EOR).

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 (EOR)?

Simplify benefits administration 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 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.


Disclaimer: The intent of this document is solely to provide general and preliminary information for private use. Do not rely on it as an alternative to legal, financial, taxation, or accountancy advice from an appropriately qualified professional. © 2024 Velocity Global, LLC. All rights reserved.

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