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Maternity & Paternity Leave

Know your country regulations

This interactive map shows how many days new fathers are allowed to take off from work to experience the joy (and terror) of a newborn child. The map features graphs that show how paternity leave compares to maternity leave in 16 EU/EEA countries.


All EU institutions were recently sanctioned to provide new fathers with a minimum 10 paid paternity days off from work. Whilst most countries on our map offer more than this, most do not offer more than 40 days. With two notable exceptions: Sweden and Finland. Both Scandinavian countries offer a good deal to new dads, respectively 90 and 54 days off. 

In comparison, there are few countries in the map that do not provide at least 100 days off to new mothers, the exceptions to the rule being Germany (84), Poland (98) and Switzerland (98). Bulgaria has the top-ranking policy in the world for maternity leave, offering 59 weeks paid leave to new mothers, compared to just 2 weeks for fathers.

EU institutions currently agree to a 98-day (14 weeks) minimum paid maternity leave.

There’s also, of course, the issue of how much compensation is offered for the paternity leave duration, which heavily impacts how much stipulated leave mothers and fathers choose to actually take. European legislators are trying to do something about the challenges people face when deciding to leave the workplace after the birth of a child, like guaranteeing that leave provisions are paid in full or at least at 66% of previous earnings (which is the definition the EU adopts for well paid leave). But in practice, currently a lot of fathers do not take advantage of their paternity leave because of low levels of remuneration.

How does this affect gender equality in Europe? Is the imbalance between paternity and maternity leave a cause or simply a consequence of gender imbalance in the workplace?  

We hope this map provides a snapshot of things as they are, so that expecting parents can better see the way forward.


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