It would be perfect to hear from your administration, “Congratulations on having the new baby! Take off the next three months at full pay!” Of course, we all know that does not happen in education. However, there are little changes here and there that should lead the way to bigger and better things as far as parental leave after having a baby.
For instance, as paternity leave becomes more and more accepted in general around the globe, there are certain countries that are leading the way more than others. It is a great thing that fathers are being looked at as imperative to early childhood in certain areas, but you wish other regions would feel the exact same way. Here are some interesting facts about paternity leave for countries around the world.
The Majority of the Globe Does Not Promote Paid Paternity Leave
According to a report by UNICEF from 2018, about two-thirds of the countries around the globe do not have a law or policy in place where companies and businesses must offer paid paternity leave. Instead, they leave it up to each individual company to make the decision for itself on whether paternity leave is needed at all, let alone having paid paternity leave.
China does not have a law in place making paid paternity leave mandatory. However, this isn’t really surprising when you consider their work week may consist of 60 to 70 hours on average. India is another place that falters at making a policy for paid paternity leave. On the other hand, their average yearly income is less than $2,000 as India is a low-income country. With all of this said, it might be surprising to know that the United States, the country that is believed to be so progressive, is lagging behind and have yet to make paid paternity leave an actual thing. Not to be outdone, they do not have an official law in place either for paid maternity leave as well.
Is Gender Equality Really Wanted in This Case?
Most of the time, gender equality is referenced towards women wanting to receive the same advantages as men in the workplace. Very rarely is it the opposite way. However, with paternity leave, this is a unique situation. Are men really expressing their rage about how they do not receive paid paternity leave like many women get with maternity leave? On top of this, are women vocalizing that men deserve time off when a baby is born? It seems the outrage is not there enough to make it a global issue.
There Are Countries Pioneering the Way for Paternity Leave
It is not all doom and gloom for fathers with newborns. There are numerous countries that are very forward-moving on this issue. In fact, a few of these countries will absolutely shock you.
South Korea and Japan
It might be surprising to know that both Japan and South Korea offer a full year of paid paternity leave. They both have a policy in place allowing this to happen. And if the company cannot afford the full paid year, the government subsidizes the difference. Still, very few fathers feel comfortable taking that much time off of work. For instance, only five percent of new fathers in Japan took advantage of this policy.
Income Level Is Not Exactly the Determining Factor
Brazil’s population is consisted of mostly middle-income workers. They also have a high infant population. Still, they offer about three weeks of paid paternity leave to their fathers. On the other hand, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a low-income country and they provide about three weeks of paid paternity leave as well.
A few countries that offer more than 14 weeks of paid paternity and have a fluctuating lower to middle-class income are Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia. They seem to realize the importance of a father in a newborn’s first few months.
High-Income Countries Stepping Up
According to many, Norway has the highest income for any country at about $104,000 per employee. So not only do they offer their population a very livable wage, but they also heap on the paid parental leave. Men receive 15 weeks of paid paternity leave, women receive three weeks before birth and 15 weeks after, and then also both are given an additional 16 paid weeks to share between the two of them to be used any time later on.
Switzerland is another high-income country that is viewed as progressive. But it turns out, not so much when it pertains to paternity leave. The Swiss government only gives new fathers one paid day off as they believe it would hurt the economy too much. Strangely enough, this is the same country that makes almost all men serve three weeks in the military every year.
Know the Policy Before Having Your New Baby
My father had nine of us children and as an educator, he took basically one day off per birth. It was not a paid day off either unless he used a sick day in the process. Rather than be surprised to hear how much or how little paid paternity leave you receive when that magical day arrives, review your options with your human resource department at your job.
Educators, this may mean going to administration and asking what your options are. You should never feel bad about asking for more paid days off for paternity leave. Your child will be around for the rest of your life. At some point, you get to retire from your job. Family should always be placed above your career when possible.
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