Top 10 Countries for Maternity Leave

By Sabrina Munns | Global | 3 min read

Maternity leave around the world is complex, and the rules and entitlements vary greatly based on different circumstances. In no particular order, here are our top ten countries that provide the best, and most unique maternity leave packages.

1. Belgium

Maternity leave in Belgium is generally set at 15 weeks, split into prenatal and postnatal leave. Belgium’s Health Insurance Fund takes care of payment.

2. Brazil

Women can get up to 120 days’ paid maternity leave in Brazil, and businesses that enroll in certain government schemes can extend this to 180 days.

3. Costa Rica

Employers share maternity leave payments with the Costa Rican Social Security fund. Mothers in Costa Rica get 4 months’ parental leave on full pay. That’s 1 month prenatal, and 3 months after the birth.

4. Finland

Expectant mothers in Finland are free to choose when their maternity leave begins, though it can start no earlier than 50 days before the expected due date. Once their leave starts, they receive maternity pay for 105 working days.

5. Germany

New mothers in Germany can take up to six weeks leave at full pay before their child is born, and up to 8 weeks at full pay after the birth.

6. New Zealand

Instead of maternity leave and paternity leave, New Zealand has primary care leave and partners leave. Primary care leave can be up to 26 weeks on government benefits of up to $585.80 per week. Partners leave extends to up to two weeks of unpaid leave, which partners can take any time in the period of 21 days before or after the child’s birth. In addition to primary care leave and partners leave, New Zealand parents can take up to 10 days of unpaid “special leave” for pregnancy appointments, and up to 52 weeks of extended unpaid leave to spend more time with their children.

7. Norway

Mothers can take up to 54 weeks of maternity leave in Norway. Maternity leave pay is also covered by National Insurance. If employees take all 54 weeks of their entitlement, they’ll get 80% of their regular pay. But if they take just 44 weeks, they get 100% of their regular pay.

8. South Korea

When it comes to maternity leave in South Korea, there are slightly different rules for small companies and large companies. However, the difference is only in how much of an employee’s maternity leave allowance the government pays, and how much the employer pays. In each case, mothers can take up to 90 days’ maternity leave, or 120 days if they have twins.

9. Sweden

As for maternity leave, new mothers in Sweden can take 240 days of paid leave, which they can start as early as 60 days before the expected due date.

10. Vietnam

The Social Insurance Authority is also responsible for paying 100% of an employee’s salary as maternity leave in Vietnam. Mothers can take up to 6 months of maternity leave, and they can also take up to 10 days’ leave for prenatal check-ups.


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