We briefly touched upon the idea of maternal or family leave after childbirth in Cami’s presentation about Sweden. As she explained, Sweden implements a paid maternity leave policy for several weeks, something that we all envied. As a result, I decided to investigate the policies on maternity leave or parental leave around the world.
The first link shows an infographic for paid maternity leave in various countries. The following data really made an impression on me: Uzbekistan with 114 weeks, Mongolia with 156 weeks, Azerbaijan with 165 weeks, and Ukraine with 166 weeks. Due to the countries’ economic status within the world, I did not expect the aforementioned countries to implement such paid policies for multiple weeks. Furthermore, Finland surpassed all of the other countries with its policy of 167 weeks of paid maternity leave. Finland, a high-income country with a healthcare ranking of 31 according to the World Health Organization, offers an attractive maternity leave policy without compromising the economy or health care of the country, two common criticisms of paid maternity leave.
Unfortunately for us, not only does the United States rank lower on the health care list, but they also fail to provide paid maternity leave. According to the infographic, the United States offers ZERO WEEKS of paid maternity leave. This statistic confused me, for we discussed the maternity leave, minimal but existent, in the United States during Cami’s presentation. Thus, I inquired about the leave in the United States. During my research, I discovered the difference between our country and the rest of the countries in the world. According to the United States Department of Labor and the Family Medical Leave Act passed by President Bill Clinton, companies must provide employees with 12 WEEKS OF UNPAID maternity leave. Therefore, although the United States may offer more maternity leave than the Philippines (nine weeks paid) or the United Arab Emirates (six weeks paid), the latter two pay their employees unlike the United States. Thus, I pose the following question to you all: What influences the maternity or family leave policies in various countries? I believe that the culture in the United States contributes to the current policy in the country.