Maternity or paternity leave? Why don’t some states not approve paternity leave, allowing only mothers to spend time with a newborn? Let’s talk about shared parental leave in this article.
When having a baby parents want to spend all their time with the new family member. Actually, spending time with a baby is priceless. Every single minute with kids, in general, is really filled with joy.
However, parents cannot do without payments as well. Moreover, spending time away from work can be costly and family budget will get some cracks. So, if you are both working and expectant parents it’s high time for you to take advantage of maternity or paternity leave.
There are various options for shared paternal leave and the policy regarding them vary from country to country. Unfortunately, paternity leave is not that common in some states.
And many people find it a means of discrimination. Anyway, let’s dive deeper into the issue and have a closer look at the examples of benefits and losses maternity or paternity leave results in.
Maternity or Paternity Leave?
Maternity Leave: Basic Things Future Mothers Should Be Aware Of
Regardless the existence of babysitters every kid needs his parents’ care. This is why working moms take work breaks to look after their babies. In other words, this break is called maternity leave. It is the period of time when a mother stops her work because she is about to have or has just had a baby.
This is pretty cool. But the need for money never reduces even in this case. Accordingly, the workplace that hired you may or may not have an official maternity leave policy, and even if it does, it, unfortunately, may not be paid.
But if it is paid, that doesn’t necessarily mean full payment. In such cases, some companies offer partially paid leaves.
Anyway, paid maternity leave is sort of a norm in almost all countries. However, it is unusual in the United States. It might sound ridiculous but it is all about the American reality.
This is why it is that important to be aware of your maternity leave if you live in the USA. Today, nearly one-fourth of American women are going back to work just 10 days after giving birth.
This is quite dangerous as it can have negative and even costly impact on both mother and child. This is not just because American women are workaholics and can’t live without their jobs.
The main reason is that American women in the USA are not guaranteed to get any paid maternity leave from the federal government. Instead, Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees that moms will get their jobs back 12 weeks after childbirth or adoption.
I really cannot associate such examples with discrimination. Anyway, this is still a way of human rights’ violation.
Can Maternity or Maternity Leave be Paid Like Ordinary Vacations?
But you can be quite lucky to be employed by one of the private employers that funds paid maternity leave programs. In this regard, they regularly send you a paycheck during your maternity leave just like during vacations or paid holidays.
Such maternity leave policy typically applies equally to all female employees within the company.
To become more clear let’s compare the UK and Germany as well. In the UK maternity pay is paid for up to 39 weeks. According to such policy, a mother gets
- 90% of average weekly earnings for the first 6 weeks
- £140.98 or 90% of average weekly earnings for the next 33 weeks
Whereas in Germany mothers also have six weeks of compulsory paid leave before the birth and eight weeks afterward. This is extended to 12 weeks following premature or multiple births.
Paternity Leave: Options For Dads
New-born babies are under the responsibility of the parents. It is nonsense to leave moms alone while taking care of a baby. For fathers, parental leave is also inevitable.
But if you’re a new father, you’re likely to experience even harder times in getting time off to take care of your new family member. So, what is paternity leave about?
It is the time a father takes a break when a child is born and helps the mother. However, this kind of leave is rarely paid even in developed countries. The USA is the typical example of the unpaid paternal leaves.
Families and Work Institute study held in 2014 found out that only 14% of American employers offer paid paternity leave options. Most American fathers receive no pay during that period.
So, like new moms, fathers as well can use vacation time as a better-paid option. As for private companies, approximately 16% of the fund paid paternity leave programs. Some employers even offer unpaid leave to new dads.
Countries that Fund Paternity Leave Under Local Laws
While the problem of paid or unpaid maternity or paternity leave remains a controversial one in the USA there are some countries really prioritizing the well-being of new parents and new-born babies.
According to their maternity or paternity leave, policy parents are granted leaves more than a year at full pay with no discrimination. And if you’re making your mind to start a family, here are some examples of ideal places to settle down.
These countries know that the shared parental leave is really worth it.
Country #1: Finland
Finland knows how to make the lives of expecting mothers easy. The maternity leave in Finland starts 7 weeks before their estimated due date.
The government also covers 16 additional weeks of paid leave by crediting a maternity grant, regardless the mother is a student, unemployed, or self-employed.
Moreover, the country also offers 8 weeks of paid paternity leave. Soon after a child turns three years old, parents are allowed to take partial care leave. This gives them the chance to split their time between home and work. The “dream leave” lasts until the child starts second grade.
Country #2: Denmark
New moms in Denmark get 18 weeks of maternity leave which comprises 4 weeks before the birth and 14 weeks after. And all the weeks are at full pay. During the second period, fathers can also take two consecutive weeks off.
From that point on, parents are allowed to split 32 additional weeks of leave if they find it necessary. They can extend the leave for another 14 weeks if the child or parent gets sick. Under such law, the government may cover 52 weeks of pay, though not always at the full salary.
Country #3: Lithuania
Nordic countries as well get a lot of attention for their generous leave policy, but Lithuania definitely beats them all. New moms get 18 weeks leave paid fully. As for new fathers, they get four weeks. Altogether the parents get an additional 156 weeks shared parental leave.
The parents can decide whether to have it paid out at 100% for the first 52 weeks or 70% for the first 104 weeks. The remaining weeks, however, are unpaid.
Maternity or Paternity Leave? Countries that Don’t Grant Paternity Leave
Parental leave taken by fathers contributes to the ability of parents to reconcile family and work responsibilities. However, traditionally mothers have been known as the main nurturers of kids.
This is why in other countries a policy granting men the chance to share parental responsibilities in the early stages of a child’s life have received quite a little attention.
In other words, paternity leave is far less common in the countries such as Canada, Mexico, Russia, China, Japan, Egypt, and India. The national laws of these countries include only maternity leave.
Besides one more thing is very obvious. The absence of paternity leave in these countries is not only a matter of legislation but also mentality. Well, this creates a good ground for gender discrimination, doesn’t it?
Pro’s and Con’s of Shared Parental Leave
Regardless the above-mentioned examples, the statistics show that more and more fathers take part in child’s care. Actually, this is one of the main benefits of shared parental leave as it is done in the name of equality and fairness.
And it is quite natural that both mothers and fathers should have the opportunity to spend time with their newborn and make progress on their career ladder if they wish so.
Moreover, companies are starting to recognize the benefits of maternity or paternity leave. To contribute the process they change their “leave” policy and its guidelines are changing to mirror the more progressive policies.
However, some dads still choose to go back to work after one or two weeks and leave moms alone. This is probably the shortcoming of the maternity or paternity leave. However, it happens just because of the financial worries which are quite understandable. Even if a company provides aid for maternity leave they give dads nothing at all.
Problems Caused by Unpaid Parental Leaves
Many employees from different spheres including parents of infants are harmed by weak or nonexistent laws on paid leave. Those who agree on unpaid leave may go deep into debts. Some parents even seek public assistance. Leave alone gender discrimination in the workplace.
We can come across such examples quite often. To a larger extent, this leads to demographic changes in the society. Many couples prefer to pursue their career instead of having babies. Besides, financial problems as well make the married ones refrain from future babies.
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