Worldview Wednesday: Working Families

Worldview Wednesday: Working Families


The first map shows what countries have paid leave: maternal, paternal, and both.


There are only 3 countries that don’t offer any parental paid leave: United States, Suriname, and Papua New Guinea. (Source 1)

The United States in the only industrialized nation to not offer paid family leave. (Source 2)

The next chart looks at the length of paid leave given to new parents:


Globally, 42% of the 152 countries studied provide cash benefits of at least 2/3 of earnings for at least 14 weeks. In fact, 34% of the countries studied go beyond this standard by providing 100% of previous earnings for at least 14 weeks. (Source 3)

How do these countries pay for paid leave?  The map below shows you.


In many countries where cash benefits are totally or partially paid by social security, workers must have a minimum period of contributions to national insurance plans, or time employed with employment benefactors prior to the maternity benefit period. These minimum contribution periods vary greatly across different countries.

For example, employees have to work the following amount of time to receive paid leave benefits:

Iran –  60 days

Paraguay – 6 weeks

Costa Rica – 6 months in the 12 months immediately preceding the birth or the adoption.

Denmark- at least 120 hours in the 13 weeks before going on leave.

Mongolia –  at least 12 months, with no interruption in the six months prior to maternity leave.

Canada – at least 600 hours of insurable employment in the previous 52 weeks or since the last claim.

Sweden – at least 240 consecutive days before birth.

In some countries, there is no minimum period of employment or contributions to qualify for cash maternity benefits. In Brazil, for example, a woman must simply be employed in insured employment.

(Source 3)

Looking beyond parental leave, how much does child care cost in other countries?


On average families spend around 13% of their income on childcare, but this varies dramatically.

The UK families spend the most – over 30% of their income on childcare.

The U.S. ranks 4th highest with 1/4 of household income spent on childcare.

Yet in Korea, families spend nothing on childcare because state benefits cover the cost.

(Source 4)

Want to do something regarding paid leave and child care in the U.S?  Tomorrow we tell you how on Take Action Thursday!

Looking to get caught up on the week?  Click the links below!


1: Deahl, Jessica. “Countries Around The World Beat The U.S. On Paid Parental Leave.”, 6 Oct. 2016, Accessed 8 May 2017.

2: “Pregnancy and Childbirth: Should health insurance plans cover contraception? Should new parents receive paid leave from employers?” Issues & Controversies, Infobase Learning, 3 Dec. 2012, Accessed 4 May 2017.

3: Addati, Laura, et al. Maternity at work: a review of national legislation. International Labour Office, Conditions of Work and Employment Branch, 13 May 2014. International Labour Organization,—dgreports/—dcomm/—publ/documents/publication/wcms_124442.pdf. Accessed 9 May 2017.

4: Luxton, Emma. “These are the countries where parents spend the most on childcare.” World Economic Forum, 22 Dec. 2016, Accessed 9 May 2017.