The Parental Leave and Career Landscape for Working Parents

Maternity and Paternity Leave

With feminism in relation to jobs hitting headlines plus reports of pay disparity rife in the world of competitive sport, it’s interesting to take a look at pay with regard to maternity and paternity leave around Europe. RecruitmentBuzz took a fascinating look at this topic in addition to delving into how certain sectors fare when new mothers return to employment after welcoming the birth of their child.

Maternity Leave – Days Offered

The below countries offer some of the highest rates of maternity leave, listed they are; Sweden (480 days at 80% pay), Croatia (365+ days at 100% pay), Norway (between 322 – 365 days at 100% pay), UK (365 days at 90% of pay) and Serbia (365 days at 100% of pay). The sources of payment vary from social insurance to state funded and employer funded.

Percentage of Leave Taken

There has been an interesting drop in the percentage of maternity leave taken by women. In 2012 an average of 137.5 days was taken, vs. 101.8 days in 2014. Consequently the number of days taken by men was 9.39 in 2012 vs. 12.22 in 2014 showing a slight rise.

Career Satisfaction and Pay

There are sectors that come out on top when it comes to workplace satisfaction and pay for those returning to work after having a child. The most satisfied working mothers are employed in the fields of teaching, healthcare or financial services. Likewise the highest paid working mothers are employed in finance, professional services and manufacturing.

Other Worldwide Benefits

Although the UK fares well in the maternity/paternity stakes, there are some attractive parental benefits elsewhere in the world which RecruitmentBuzz shared. Some of our favourites include;
  • Sweden – each parent can shorten their working day by up to 25% should they wish for the first 8 years of their child’s life, they will get a consequent cut in pay though, only being paid for the hours in which they are at work
  • Croatia – the amount of leave is particularly strong here; maternity leave lasts for a whole year at 100% whilst paternity leave lasts for 120 days, also at full pay
  • Norway – both parents are encouraged to take their full leave in Norway – if fathers don’t take their full share of paternity leave, the whole leave is shortened for both parents

It’s encouraging to see that the UK is well within the mix of some of the best parental leave programs in and around Europe.