Paternity Leave Around The World

Women are not the only one who gets a parental leave. Men should know that they also have a paternity leave, not to mention the adoption leave too.

Parental leave is a benefit that provides paid time off work to take of a child. The employee benefit most of the time is laid down by law.

The coverage of paternity leave often varies in different countries. This varies according to political slants of legislators and the chosen type of parental leave legislation. Reasons for the type of legislation can be based on civil rights or economic development. Some critics say that parental leave benefits may have adverse effect on business operations especially for small-scale business. However, there are companies that use parental leaves as a method of increasing employees. Thus, they provide more parental benefits than the required by law.

Most countries specify a period of time the employee has worked on the company before he can avail the paternity leave. This is also true with other leaves such as maternity and adoption. Many countries have lesser paternity leaves than maternity ones. Let me give an example.

In Africa, paternity leaves are rare. For instance, Algerian women get a paid leave of 14 weeks while men only have three days. In Cameroon, Chad, and Gabon, women have 14 weeks also, whereas men have only up to 10 days of paid leaves. Worth noting are countries that have no paternity leave at all like Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Congo, Egypt, Mali, Somalia, and Sudan to name a few.

Western countries are far more different. Canada has expanded in 2000 their parental leaves from 10 weeks to 35 weeks divided according to two parents’ desire. This leave is still different from 15 weeks maternity leave. These parental and maternity leaves are pain by the Employment Insurance system in Canada.

Different from most Western countries is the United States where there is neither paid paternity leave nor maternity leave. There is only unpaid maternity and paternity leaves for 12 weeks. This is under the Family Medical Leave Act, which requires a minimum twelve-month work experience in the company to avail such leaves.

Because of this, civil rights movements and organizations campaigns for expansion of paid maternity leave. Examples of organization supporting such cause are Moms Rising, National Partnership for Women and Families, and Center for Law and Social Policy.

In Guatemala and Paraguay, they provide two days paid paternity leave during the birth of the child. The Uruguay law provides three day paid paternity leave only for civil servants.

Meanwhile, few countries provide paid leaves in countries in Asia and Pacific. Notable country is Israel where men cannot take paid leave instead of the mother starting from the 6th week of pregnancy until the 14th.

The few countries that provide paid paternity leaves are South East Asia such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Philippines.

Cambodian law gives 10 days special leave to men for family events. Indonesia has two days paid leave when the wife gives birth to the child. Myanmar places it under “casual leave” with six days off work to assist their wives at the time of confinement. In the Philippines, the law provides seven days paid paternity leave for all married employees.


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