May 11, 2010

Parental Leave Around The World

What does an American computer nerd living in Sweden do when the birth of his first daughter thrusts the reality of the world's most generous paternal leave system upon him?

He crunches data to make interactive parental leave policy maps around the world, and then posts them to his
dadblog, of course.

260 days in Germany, but only three days of paid paternity leave in France? Really??

Visual: Parental Leave Global Maps Flash Page []


Hi Greg

In France, a father has 3 days of "authorized leave" just after birth, PLUS the actual paternity leave of 11 working days (18 for multiple birth), that can be taken any time (e.g. when mom and baby leave the hospital). That makes a total of 14 or 21 working days.

Parental leave is certainly one of those areas where my gut tells me more is better. But, for some reason, looking at the maps made me wonder what does additional maternity/paternity leave actually do for children, parents and society. Are those countries with longer mandatory leaves known for having stronger and more successful families? Do the children enjoy more love and greater safety as newborns? Do the adults become better parents? Why don't we hear more about the great relationships Germans tend to have with their fathers thanks to such a generous paternity leave mandate?
All this is tough to define. You can only truly judge the quality of a parent/child relationship in the context of the society in which it exists. But from a policy standpoint it would be interesting to examine who really benefits from more or less parental leave time.

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