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This Map Compares Parental Leave Policies Around The World

The US is one of eight countries that doesn't guarantee parental leave.


While advocates for paid paternity leave continue to gain ground around the world, the US remains one of the only developed countries that does not legally guarantee workers parental leave. Using data compiled by UNICEF, the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health compiled an interactive graph showing how progressive the parental leave policies in various countries are, and revealing just how terrible US policies are.

The graphic shows that 185 of the 195 countries in the world offer new mothers some type of parental leave, while 103 of those countries extend a similar offer to dads. When you limit the findings to more developed nations, however, the shortcomings of the US becomes more evident.

World Policy Center

“To achieve gender equality both in the workplace and the home, it’s essential for men to have an equal chance to be there with their newborn babies,” said Jody Heymann, the founding director of World Policy Analysis Center.

As it stands right now, Japan and South Korea are way ahead of the pack when it comes to paternity leave. New dads are each offered up to an entire year to spend at home with their newborn children. Meanwhile, countries like Canada, France, and even Russia all offer new fathers at least 14 weeks of paternity leave.

Even in emerging countries like India, parliament is set to vote on a paternity leave option. African nations like Rwanda and Gambia, where paternity leave was unheard of even 15 years ago, have both introduced some form of it since 2010. While a handful of states, including California and New Jersey, offer paid leave to parents, most states let employers decide whether to offer paid leave.