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People left stunned after women share what parental leave looks like in their country

Bec Oakes

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People left stunned after women share what parental leave looks like in their country

Featured Image Credit: Featured Image Credit: Pexels

People are sharing what parental leave looks like around the world and some of the responses will leave you stunned.

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With the topic of reproductive rights currently the subject of great debate, many women can't help but think about our options for having children and parental leave.

And for some parents, getting that time-off can be an uphill battle - sometimes even resorting to legal action.

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But not every country has the same rules, and a map of paid leave for new mothers by country shared on Reddit sparked a large discussion between parents.

The difference in parental leave between different countries left Reddit users stunned. Credit: Tara Moore / Getty
The difference in parental leave between different countries left Reddit users stunned. Credit: Tara Moore / Getty

The data from the map created by the New York Times in 2022 shows that the vast majority of countries offer new mothers 12 to 24 weeks of paid leave - while the US largely offers none.

And many countries in Europe offer 24 weeks or more - with the average length being 29 weeks.

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Many people took the the comments to share their experiences with parental leave in their respective countries.

One user wrote: "I'm originally from the US but now I live in Germany. I honestly can't fathom having a baby in my home country.

"In Germany, I took off roughly 19 months of maternity leave with each child: six weeks leading up to my due date and eight weeks after were fully paid," she continued.

"I then received a reduced salary for the other months but I continued to be insured and under a pension plan."

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She went on to explain that you can theoretically take three years of parental leave in Germany — although the third year is unpaid — with the parent having the right to return to work the same as before.

Some countries offer mandatory leave for new mothers. Credit: Justin Paget / Getty
Some countries offer mandatory leave for new mothers. Credit: Justin Paget / Getty

While in Romania, paid maternity leave can be up to two years from the child's birth and fathers are allowed to extend paternity leave, regardless of the number of children they have.

The UK allows for new mothers to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, with the first 26 weeks being known as 'Ordinary Maternity Leave' and the last weeks called 'Additional Maternity Leave' - with mandatory leave being 2 weeks.

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But, in the US, the difference in care for new parents is like night and day.

"My husband and I work for the same company in the United States," wrote one user. "We recently found out that we must SHARE our 12 weeks of unpaid leave. We originally thought we would get 12 weeks per person.

"America really needs to start caring about parents and families.

"It's especially grating because I live in a religious red state where having families is a top priority, but the government isn't actually helping people to realise that goal."

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Many people have differing experiences on parental leave. Credit: SelectStock / Getty
Many people have differing experiences on parental leave. Credit: SelectStock / Getty

For another US couple, the father was called back to work just three days after his wife gave birth.

"I gave birth on a Friday," she said. "By Monday morning, my husband's boss wanted him back in the office. That was the end of his paternity leave in the US."

According to the US Department of Labour, paid paternal leave under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) is only limited to 12 weeks and can be used from the moment of birth, however, the parent must agree 'in writing' to 'work for the applicable employing agency for at least 12 weeks' before their leave commences.

And the range of experiences left Reddit users stunned.

One person wrote: "I feel genuinely sick for anyone not getting any parental leave at all," while another simply said: "The U.S. sucks."

A third responded: "Force people to have babies but refuse to support them.. Classic."

While a final said: "That’s wild."

Topics: Life, Parenting

Bec Oakes
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