Who Has The Best Paternity Leave Policy?

Society | January 12, 2016
Excel Sheet

In 2016, under a use-or-lose program, the Swedish government will allocate 3 months of paid paternity leave for new fathers - up from the current 2-month minimum. Sweden offers mothers and fathers 16 months of paid leave, which can be divided up between spouses and used at any time before a child’s eighth birthday.

Since 1990, a majority of OECD countries have introduced at least some kind of paid father- specific entitlement. Although still offered only in a minority of countries, the OECD average length of paid father-specific leave stood at 3.4 weeks in 2000.

A further eleven OECD countries introduced some kind of paid father-specific leave in the years following 2000. The most striking reforms have been in Korea and Japan, where since 2008 and 2010 respectively fathers have held an individual entitlement to at least one year of paid parental leave. By 2014, most OECD countries offered at least one week of paid leave reserved for the father and the OECD average length of paid father-specific leave had increased to just over 10 weeks.

Japan has one of the world’s most liberal sets of parental leave laws: Men and women are entitled to 52 weeks off, generally retaining 60% of their salary on average throughout, after the birth of a child. No other OECD country lets new fathers take that much time off, at that level of compensation. Despite this, only about 2% of new fathers in Japan took paternity leave last year.