Leave from work in case of the birth of a child is increasingly treated as a matter of 'family importance', and no longer the (traditional) prerogative of new mothers.

The complexities of these benefits are regularly updated in Axco's Employee Benefits Reports and Insight EB services. A recent theme that we've been seeing is the introduction of new paternity and parental leave and benefits alongside the expansion of existing benefits.

In this article, I'll be taking a look at how these benefits operate around the world. I've chosen more eleven countries to give examples from but even more information can be found in Axco's products.

1. Austria

September marked the one-year anniversary of the introduction of "Papamonat". This paternity leave is available for one month until eight weeks after childbirth. While unpaid, a paternity allowance may be payable.

2. Estonia

Paid paternity leave period was increased to 30 calendar days (from 10 working days) from 1 July 2020. This is known locally as the 'additional parental benefit' as it is provided under and falls within the paid parental leave allowance. 

3. Finland

Since April 2019, the period during which the paternity allowance is payable is increased to 72 working days in case of twins, 90 days in case of triplets and 105 days in case of quadruplets (or more). Paternity leave was also extended to 72 days from the same date.

4. Ireland

Parental leave increased from 22 weeks per child up to 26 weeks per child from 1 September 2020. Parental leave is unpaid and available for each child up to age 12 (or up to age 16 where the child is disabled).

5. Italy

Seven days of paid paternity leave became mandatory from 1 January 2020; leave days may be taken at any time up to five months after childbirth.

6. Korea (Republic of)

Paternity benefits increased from 3 days up to 10 days (within 90 days of childbirth) last August; benefits remain equal to 100% of the employee's wage.

7. Latvia

Since 1 January 2020, parental benefits may be taken concurrently with maternity leave. When the first and second child are born within 36 months of each other, the benefit amount for the second child must be at least equal to that paid for the first child.

8. Netherlands

Within the four weeks following childbirth, partner leave benefit is payable for five days at 100% of the employee's salary (plus three days' leave unpaid). From 1 July 2020, up to five weeks of additional partner leave may be provided within the first six months after childbirth, with benefits subject to a cap.

9. New Zealand

From 1 July 2020, paid parental leave increased to 26 weeks (from 22 weeks) and Keeping in Touch days increased to 64 hours (from 52 hours). Paid parental leave may be used by the mother or transferred (in part) to a spouse or partner; extended leave may also be shared between parents. Partner's leave is provided exclusively for the spouse or partner and remained unchanged on the same date.

10. Spain

Paternity leave and benefit periods are increasing each year. Firstly to eight weeks in 2019 and then increased to 12 weeks in 2020, to reach 16 weeks from 1 January 2021.

11. Switzerland

On 27 September 2020, a Swiss referendum approved the proposal to provide two weeks of paternity leave; the paid benefit will be calculated in line with the existing paid maternity leave at 80% of the employee's average income (subject to a maximum benefit). 

And more are coming... including paternity leave proposals in France (an extension of paid paternity leave (mandatory) and unpaid paternity leave (up to 1 month from childbirth) and the imminent commencement of paternity leave in the UAE.

Please see Axco's Employee Benefits Reports and Insight EB products for further detail and to follow developments in this area.