In September 2016, the Irish government officially introduced paternity leave for fathers. Over 160 countries (out of the 195 in the world) now have some form of paternity leave. However, with varying lengths and rates of pay, there’s a long way to go before all fathers around the world have equal access to time off from work to adapt to life with a newborn. In places like the US, people are still struggling to secure basic maternity leave legislation.


New parents get 480 days to share between them at a rate of 80% pay for the first 390 days and the remainder at a flat rate. 90 of those days are reserved for fathers, to ensure they get time to bond with the baby.

Ecuador is one of only a few South American countries to update their legislation. Fathers are entitled to 10 days of leave at 100% pay, with an extra 5 days in the case of a caesarean section or multiple births. They can also avail of a further nine months of unpaid leave if desired.

Quite a few African countries offer fully-paid paternity leave. Kenyan dads get the longest, with 15 days to bond with their newborn.

The Philippines
In the Philippines, new fathers are entitled to seven days of fully-paid leave, if the mother gives birth or has a miscarriage. There are some conditions, however, most notably that the father and mother must be married.


United States
With the exception of California, Rhode Island and New Jersey, women cannot avail of paid maternity leave in the US, let alone a paternity benefit. Despite being one of the leading economies of the Western world, the US offers the least support for new parents.

Saudi Arabia
Saudi dads are offered one day off upon the birth of their baby. It’s a fully paid holiday, but doesn’t offer much time to spend with the mother and newborn.

Italy also offers just one day of paid paternity leave to new fathers. This means the father will have limited opportunity to help with and care for the new arrival.


The underlying question is whether this is a women’s issue – alleviating pressure off mothers and giving them the opportunity to balance their home and work lives – or a male issue – offering them the opportunity to become more involved in child-rearing and distribute care and responsibility of children more equally.


Country Duration Rate of pay
1. Sweden 90 80%
2. Iceland 90 80%
3. Slovenia 90 100%
4. Ecuador 10-280 100%
5. Finland 54 70%
6. Lithuania 30 100%
7. Portugal 20 100%
8. Brazil 5-20 100%
9. Spain 15 100%
10. Kenya 14 100%
11. Venezuela 14 100%
12. Ireland 14 €235 per week
13. Australia 14 Minimum wage
14. United Kingdom 7-14 90% or flat-rate benefit
15. The Philippines 7 100%, if married
16. New Zealand 14 0%
17. Mexico 7 100%
18. Saudi Arabia 1 100%
19. Italy 1 100%
20. United States 0 n/a
21. Luxembourg 0 n/a
22. Czech Republic 0 n/a
23. Croatia 0 n/a
24. Austria 0 n/a


Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

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