The United States is the worst for paid maternity leave
As paid maternity leave becomes an increasingly important social benefit in the United States, there are a troubling gap when compared to maternity leave policies in other countries.
For every country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an intergovernmental organization that works to drive global economic progress, maternity leave is a national guarantee, regardless of employer. Yet there is an exception: the United States In fact, the United States is one of six countries in the world that does not have a national paid parental leave policy.
Along with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, who ended the national right to abortion care, and the rising cost of child care, it seems particularly frustrating that the United States is almost alone in running out of maternity leave, which makes more difficult for mothers to build a stable future for their families on their own terms. CommonCentsMom.com, a financial wellness resource for families, looked at 40 other OECD and EU countries to see how far behind the United States is.
Read more: Doulas improve maternal health outcomes, analysis of Medicaid data shows
“The fact that the US doesn’t have a maternity system never really appealed to us, and we wanted to check out what other developed countries had the same approach,” says Katie Ren, founder of CommonCentsMom.com. “Now we know for a fact that this is not normal. Every mother has different needs, but they should not be forced to return to work at the expense of their own health and well-being, or that of their child. “
Using data from national statistics offices, the OECD, the World Bank and Eurostat from 2020 and 2021, CommonCentsMom.com has ranked countries by how many weeks of paid leave mothers can take. The Slovak Republic took first place with 164 weeks.
Ren notes that domestic funding doesn’t seem to be what’s stopping the United States, since countries with low economic activity still have generous leave policies in place. She also doesn’t believe leaving maternity policies in the hands of individual employers is a solution. However, it doesn’t look like the United States is about to establish a federal furlough policy anytime soon.
Here are 10 countries with the best and worst paid maternity leave, according to CommonCentsMom.com.