Did you know that the USA is one of 4 Countries in the world that does not Guarantee their Moms Paid Maternity Leave?
But if you live in America, don’t despair, you can always move to one of the States that has Paid Maternity Leave Laws in place.
These 4 States have publicly funded Paid Maternity Leave:
- California – California Maternity Leave 2017
- New Jersey – New Jersey Maternity Leave 2017
- Massachusetts – Massachusetts Maternity Leave 2017
- Rhode Island – Rhode Island Maternity Leave 2017
Just in case you were wondering, the other 3 countries without mandated paid maternity leave are Swaziland, Lesotho and Papua New Guinea.
What really interested me, was the countries that offer the Best Maternity Leave Policies and whether that has an impact on breastfeeding rates and the duration of breastfeeding. Turns out it doesn’t really. Sadly. In most cases, it seemed to make no difference at all.
In my research, I found huge variations in data on different websites.
I found this info on Webforum.org – this article was published in August 2016: These 10 Countries have the Best Parental Leave Policies in the World
10 Countries with the Best Parental Leave Policies:
- Finland – 23 weeks, 7 weeks before due date, 16 weeks after, regardless of whether the mother is a student, unemployed, or self-employed plus 8 weeks paid paternity leave
- Denmark – 52 weeks in total, 18 weeks, 4 weeks before, 14 weeks after, at full pay plus 2 weeks paid paternity leave, thereafter parents can split another 32 weeks of leave
- Sweden – 18 weeks maternity leave plus 90 days paid paternity leave plus 480 days leave at 80% of their normal pay split between both parents
- Belgium – 15 weeks maternity leave or 8 months part-time leave, first 30 days at 80% pay, 75% pay for the rest of the time plus 10 days paternity leave at 100% pay plus 7 days at 82%
- Iceland – 9 months – 3 months maternity, 3 months paternity, another 3 months where they can split between the parents, at 80% pay
- Serbia – 20 weeks at 100% pay plus a full year leave: 100% pay for 26 weeks, 60% for weeks 27-39, and 30% for weeks 40-52, plus 1 week full paid paternity leave
- Norway – 35 weeks at 100% pay or 45 weeks at 80% pay, 10 weeks paternity leave depending on their wives’ income, plus together they can get an extra 46 weeks 100% or 56 weeks at 80% of their income.
- Hungary – 24 weeks 70%, can start 4 weeks before due date, plus one week 100% paid paternity leave, after which they can take 156 weeks, split between them at 70% of their salary for 104 weeks, and a flat rate for the rest.
- Estonia – 140 days at 100%, which may begin 30-70 days before due date plus 2 weeks paid paternity leave, plus 435 days between the parents at an average of their two earnings.
- Lithuania – 18 weeks at 100% plus 4 weeks paternity leave, plus an additional 156 weeks to share, either at 100% for the first 52 weeks (until the child turns 1) or 70% for the first 104 weeks (until the child is 2 years old). The remaining weeks are unpaid.
Wow! I don’t know about you, but I’m keen to pack my bags and move to Lithuania!
The following information is gleaned from the OECD. There’s a great article on the Epoch Times, 28 April 2016 explaining how the OECD’s full rate equivalent (FRE) calculation. “This FRE number is equivalent to “the length of the paid leave in weeks if it were paid at 100 percent of previous earnings. So while the United Kingdom offers one of the longest maternity leaves, if a British mother opts to take advantage of all 39 weeks available to her, only 33 percent her gross average earnings will be paid out to her over the 9 months.” Read full article here:
Read full article here: Countries with the Best Maternity Leave Policies
5 Countries with 100% Paid Leave
- Croatia – 30 weeks of 100% of their average insured earnings (insured for the year preceding their absence)
- Poland – 26 weeks of 100% paid maternity leave to all employed women with no payment ceiling plus 2 weeks of 100% paid paternity leave.
- Estonia – 20 weeks—or 140 days of 100% earnings and no ceiling on possible payments, no-strings-attached maternity leave.
- Mexico – 12 weeks with 100% payout of insured earnings (insured for 30 weeks in the year preceding the leave)
- Israel – 14 weeks at 100% plus another 12 weeks unpaid leave to all employed and self-employed mothers. (if insured for 10 months out of the 14 preceding the absence).
Now let’s compare these policies with Breastfeeding Rates around the World.
It appears that Maternity Leave Policies have absolutely NOTHING to do with Breastfeeding Rates. For example, here are the Top 20 Breastfeeding Countries in the World. These figures are from WHO and are based on mothers who have exclusively breastfed their babies for 6 months.
Countries with 50% or More Mothers Breastfeeding Exclusively for 6 Months
|Top Breastfeeding Countries||6 Months BF|
|3||Cambodia & Solomon Islands||74%|
|4||Malawi & Peru||72%|
|6||Eritrea & Kiribati||69%|
|13||Bolivia & Cabo Verde||60%|
|14||Papua New Guinea & Kyrgyzstan||56%|
|17||Egypt and Iran||53%|
|18||Croatia & Tonga||52%|
|19||Samoa, Sao Tome & Principe||51%|
Now, this was interesting!
Did you notice that 2 of the Countries with NO Maternity Laws in place whatsoever, Papua New Guinea and Lesotho appear on this list! Swaziland is also not doing too badly either, at 44%. See how the USA fares below.
Also, most of these countries are names most of us have never heard of – they are what we used to call 3rd world countries, or developing countries if you’re looking for a more politically correct term.
So I had to dig a little deeper to find the answer to my question, which is simply this:
Do countries with great maternity policies in place, have impressive breastfeeding rates?
So I compared their Policy Scorecard with WHO’s Breastfeeding Stats. Remember, that WHO’s Stats are based on Mothers who Breastfeed EXCLUSIVELY for 6 months.
|Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard||6 Months BF|
|2. Slovenia||No Stats on WHO|
|6. Lithuania||No Stats on WHO|
|8. Czech Republic||18%|
|11. Estonia||No Stats on WHO|
|14. France||No Stats on WHO|
|19. New Zealand||No Stats on WHO|
|23. Slovak Republic||49%|
|25. United Kingdom||1%|
|33. Monaco||No Stats on WHO|
|34. Australia||No Stats on WHO|
|36. United States||19%|
Hmm, surprising to see how many Countries with great Breastfeeding Policies in place have disappointingly low Breastfeeding Statistics!
See Countries highlighted in RED on Chart above.
In fact, the only country with super duper parental leave policies that’s also doing well on WHO’s Breastfeeding Stats, is HUNGARY. Unfortunately, could not find stats on WHO for Estonia and Lithuania. (Serbian Stats – 14%).
Amazingly, FINLAND and the UK have some of the LOWEST breastfeeding rates, at 1%. (Some reports say the UK are actually only 0.5%).
And, although the USA ranks last on the Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard they, by no means, have the lowest percentage of Mom’s achieving WHO’s minimum requirement of 6 months exclusive breastfeeding.
It’s also encouraging to note that Breastfeeding Rates are on the Rise in the US.
For more information on Maternity Leave in the USA, go to Leave Advice.