Anyone who has had a baby and gone back to work knows that the three months of maternity leave that is federally allowed in the United States passes by way too quickly. And no company is required to pay wages during a parental leave, it is a benefit that may or may not be offered. Thus making it difficult for families to take the full three months or extended leave because of the economic hardship caused by not working.
I figured that European countries would have more generous parental leave programs than the U.S., but was really surprised to find out that most other countries in the world have better policies than us, offering fully or partially paid leaves, 45 days or longer.
At the top of the heap, is the staggeringly generous 480 days of parental leave for each child that is enjoyed by Swedish couples.
Four hunded and eighty days.
Couples can split the days between themselves, but 60 days are dedicated to the father and are forfeited if not used by him. The days can be used until the child turns eight years old and the parents are entitled to 80% of their normal wages, though that number is capped at a certain point. All this adds up to happy, satisfied families and a more even-handed workplace, as Swedish companies are less likely to discriminate against women for having children.
Compared to the United States’ paltry three months, Sweden looks positively dreamy for working couples. Do you think the U.S. will ever get its act collected on this issue and make paid leave a law?
Image via © Alina Isakovich – Fotolia.com