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Maternity Leave by Country

Maternity Leave by Country
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Introduction

The issue of maternity leave is not only a subject of ongoing societal discourse but a crucial matter transcending borders and cultures. Maternity leave stands as a pivotal gauge of a society's supports for working mothers as they navigate the delicate balance of growing their families and their careers. It varies widely across the globe, often regulated, at minimum, by national laws, and in some instances, enhanced by individual employer policies.

We look at the amount of time, in weeks, that a mother takes off from work after the birth of her child.

  • Eastern European countries lead the pack with the longest maternity leaves. Bulgaria, topping the list, offers 58.6 weeks, significantly higher than the rest. Other European countries like Greece, the United Kingdom, and Slovakia also report generous maternity leaves ranging from 39 to 43 weeks.
  • Higher-income countries such as New Zealand, Iceland, and Ireland provide around six months or 26 weeks of maternity leave, striking a middle ground.
  • Maternity leave appears to be shortest in Africa and the Middle East, with countries like Qatar and Tunisia averaging just around 4 to 5 weeks.
  • Some major economies, such as China, India, and the United States, provide comparatively shorter maternity leaves, with around 12 weeks.
  • The United States, one of the largest economies globally, is grouped with emerging economies like India and Nigeria in terms of maternity leave duration.
  • Nations including Australia, Israel, and Switzerland offer approximately 14 weeks, slightly surpassing the international labor organization's minimum suggestion of 14 weeks. However, few countries like Sweden seem to be outliers, granting less than the recommended weeks, specifically 12.9 weeks.

Countries with the Longest Maternity Leave

Bulgaria, Greece, and the United Kingdom outshine other nations when it comes to the length of maternity leave. Bulgaria tops the list with a generous grant of 58.6 weeks, which significantly surpasses other nations' provisions. Following Bulgaria, Greece offers 43 weeks, underlining its commitment to facilitate work-life balance for new mothers. United Kingdom, the third in line, provides a substantial maternity leave of 39 weeks. 

Slovakia follows closely, offering 34 weeks and Croatia provides 30 weeks of leave. The Czech Republic has a statutory requirement of 28 weeks, providing ample time for mothers to recover post-childbirth and bond with their newborns. Rounding off the top ten are the higher-income nations of New Zealand, Iceland, and Ireland, each granting around 26 weeks of maternity leave. Hungary holds the tenth spot, with a commendable 24 weeks of leave post childbirth. 

The Maternity Leave in Weeks by Countries:

  1. Bulgaria - 58.6 Weeks
  2. Greece - 43 Weeks
  3. United Kingdom - 39 Weeks
  4. Slovakia - 34 Weeks
  5. Croatia - 30 Weeks
  6. Czech Republic - 28 Weeks
  7. New Zealand - 26 Weeks
  8. Ireland - 26 Weeks
  9. Iceland - 26 Weeks
  10. Hungary - 24 Weeks

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology