If you type the phrase “parental leave Sweden” into Google, among the 320,000 results you may well find the word “generous” attached. Sometimes it even stretches to the phrase “one of the most generous in the world.” Sweden.se already has a nice simple explanation of how the system works which relieves me of a job. But on a quest to find out how good we really have it here, I continued to scour the internet for comparisons. Now I can’t wholeheartedly vouch for these examples – hey, I found them on the net – so here comes the liability waiver. If you know different, let us know!
- In Tunisia mothers receive 30 days off work, earning 67 percent of their salary. Fathers can claim one day of paternity leave if they work in the private sector. Public sector fathers fare better. Well, they get two days.
- Slovenian mums receive 12 months at full pay while dads are eligible for 11 days paternity leave.
- In South Africa, mothers can take up to four months off work and their salary is capped to 60 percent, depending on income. Fathers are given three days of paid leave.
- China keeps it simple. Ninety days for mums at 100 percent pay but no paid leave for fathers.
Before I give my verdict on whether Sweden truly lives up to its “most generous” label, I also found the following trivia worth sharing. (Insert liability waiver again).
- In Italy, full-time working mothers are entitled to two hours of rest every day for the first year back at work after giving birth.
. Maternity leave benefits in Singapore are not extended to women with their fifth child.
- In the Philippines, fathers are eligible to take seven days paternity leave but only if they are married.
- In Bulgaria, a grandparent can take the 12-month leave at 100 percent pay instead of either parent.
Now, Denmark and Norway are also often highly praised in the most generous parental leave league. In pure terms of the number of leave days (480) Sweden beats its Nordic neighbours. However, their approach is more straightforward and simple with fewer calculations needed. Indeed, Sweden’s complex process can give parents as much of a headache as a screaming child. Congrats to those who have survived the tangled web weaved by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Forsäkringskassan) and come out the other side practically unscathed.
Making claim to the most generous title until very recently was Lithuania. The Baltic nation provided two years of parental leave with 90 percent of pay in the first year and 75 percent in the second year. Very generous. However, in 2010 lawmakers voted in favour to make cuts after the World Bank made worrying calls over their budget deficit. The legislation came into effect this month.
Now, parents who take one year of leave will get 100 percent of their pay. They can choose to take two years of parental leave but benefits are reduced to 70 percent in the first year and to 40 percent in the second year.
In conclusion then, does Sweden have the most generous parental leave system in the world? Yes, as far as I can tell, it does now!