Study: Parental Leave, Building Careers, and Raising Families

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A two-part infographic series from Mercer that examines how parental leave policies vary around the world.

Parental leave part 1: Building careers, raising families

A visual perspective of the varying levels of parental leave support across
the world.

For many parents, paid leave and work-family support after childbirth or adoption greatly affect their families’ health and financial wellbeing. Over the years, governments have instituted parental leave policies to promote gender equality in the workplace, increase birth rates and encourage the long-term social benefits of parent-child bonding. Even where laws do not dictate parental leave, local customs often call for some type of leave. But depending on where you live, the level of support varies for new moms and dads.

Mercer, a global human resource consulting firm, has just released a two-part infographic series that gives a visual perspective of the varying levels of parental leave support across the world. The eye-opening graphics rank high-profile countries according to several factors, including the amount of total maternity leave (Germany tops the charts with a whopping 158 weeks of allocated time off) and even those with the shortest amount of allotted time off (the United States measures a mere 6 to 12 weeks).

More highlights from Mercer's study include:

Paid leave is obviously better. While many countries have parental leave policies that will ensure a parent's employment upon return, paid leave makes taking time off more beneficial and realistic.

Sweden is one of the most generous in terms of paid leave. Parents in Sweden can take a total of 480 days of paid leave!

A hefty amount of countries don't give time off for new dads. United States has no statutory requirement for paternity leave. Neither do countries like Austria, Italy, Lebanon or Vietnam.

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Bruce Lee
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