Our great nation is not so great when it comes to paid leave after popping out a baby. The USA is dead last among developed countries when it comes to paid maternity leave.
According to Forbes, the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but you have to work for a company with at least 50 employees or a public agency or public or private elementary or secondary school to qualify. Plus, you have to have worked at least a year for your employer, racking up a minimum of 1,250 hours. More than 40% of Americans do not meet all FLMA’s requirements.
The only other country that doesn’t guarantee unpaid leave for new mothers is Papua New Guinea. Papua. New. Guinea. Point it out on a map. You can’t.
As for fathers, save for ‘paid family leave’ efforts in California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, dad bros must take vacation or sick time to welcome their miracle of life into the world.
And then there’s Sweden, who uses a generous system that promotes gender equality in parenting.
According to Metro,
Parents of whichever gender are entitled to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days while receiving 80% of their salary.
Out of these 480 days, 60 must be taken by the father or else all are lost. This leave can be taken by the month, week, day or even by the hour.
Fathers can choose to share their parental leave equally with their partner and in turn will receive a so-called ‘equality bonus’ as part of new paternity-leave legislation.
The more days divided equally between parents, the higher the bonus.
This unique system is in stark contrast to the rest of the UK, whose employers allow just one to two weeks’ paternity leave.
Although this system seems like a dad’s dream, only a slither of Sweden’s fathers use all their days of parental leave–14 percent choose to share their days equally with their wives.
I didn’t plan on having kids for another 12 years, but I may just move to Sweden, lock down a job for a year, marry a tall, blonde model and have babies until they stop paying me for it. Ah, the
American Swedish Dream.