Parental Leave Around The Globe
Learn about parental leave around the world, who is eligible for parental leave, what kind of leave is mandated, and what companies need to know to be in compliance with laws in common business expansion destinations. It used to be that parental leave meant maternity leave but it now includes paternity leave in many countries.
Our guest expert is Adriana Vergara, Director, Client Services – Human Resources for Global Upside. She has extensive experience in implementing and maintaining full HR compliance. Global Upside offers Accounting, Payroll, HR, and Talent Acquisition Services globally.
In this podcast, we discuss the following:
- Maternity and Paternity
- Sick leave for child or other family member
- Who decides the details on parental leave benefits
- If both parents can take off at the same time
- If the the same job is required to be available after extended parental leave
- What companies need to keep in mind when expanding internationally so they are in compliance
Welcome to the Globig podcast where we talk to international expansion experts from around the world to make it faster and easier for you to take your business global.
Hello, I am your host Anke Corbin with Globig. Our hot international business and HR topic today is Parental Leave around the Globe and our guest expert is Adriana Vergara, Director of Client Services and Human Resources for Global Upside. She has experience in implementing and maintaining full HR compliance and Global Upside offers Accounting, Payroll, HR, and Talent Acquisition Services globally.
Adriana welcome. Thanks a bunch for joining us on the Globig podcast today and then sharing your expertise. It’s a real pleasure to have you as our guest.
Thank you, Anke. It’s great to be here today. I am looking forward to our conversation.
Overview: Parental Leave
Excellent. Ok so, we are gonna talk today about parental leave around the world. Who is eligible for parental leave and what kind of leave is mandated and what companies need to know so that they can be in compliance and it used to be that parental leave really just meant maternity leave and that’s probably what’s most familiar to our listeners but it’s actually much broader now and it includes paternity leave in many countries and even some other things. So, tell us a little bit about some of the options that you are seeing just that are in regard to parental leave around the globe.
Yes, so paternity leave is much more common these days and it’s part of the equation in many countries. There is a wide range of how parental leave is handled around the world for both paternity and maternity leave. For example, in the UK parents can share their parental leave up to 50 weeks out of which mothers can take the initial two weeks after birth but they can shorten their maternity leave and exchange it for shared paternal leave.
The parents have the choice of how to split up the remainder of their leave entitlement. So, the law allows parents to take up to three blocks of shared parental leave in the course of the child’s first year.
In Germany, the baby bonding benefits is paid by the government, starting from the childbirth to the age of 12 to 14 months. Though there are no leave benefits specific to fathers, either parent may take advantage of the parental leave.
As a third example, in the Netherlands, maternity leave can begin up to six weeks and should start no later than four weeks before the baby is due and can continue for at least ten weeks after birth even if delivery is later than expected, covering a total of 16 weeks.
You know, so that’s really, really different then from what we experience here in the United States. Isn’t that?
Very much so, yes.
And I would imagine you have a number of companies that you work with, where there is someone surprised by this, right? So generally speaking, what do you find makes a person eligible for parental leave in countries around the world and I mean it’s not just having a birth baby, right? There are probably a number of other options that allow you to be eligible for this.
Yes, there are different criteria which determine the eligibility of parental leave across the globe. It used to be that people thought of parental leave as maternity leave for when a woman has given birth to a new baby. There are so many ways that a person can become a parent and those are taken into consideration for parental leave.
Of course, the birth of a new child is included. There is also adoption and, in some situations, foster parents can also qualify for leave. A sick child or a family member may also make a parent eligible for parental or family leave.
How is Parental Leave Different Outside the US?
So interesting. So, what is parental leave look like, I mean, we talked a little bit about a couple of countries but what sorts of benefits or guarantees might an employer have to comply with. And, those are really interesting for especially, our US audience. They are just so not familiar with this. Now some companies do offer it but for the most part, it’s a benefit, it is not a requirement but that’s not necessarily the case in actually most other countries around the world, does it?
So, what does parental leave look like in different countries, what sort of benefits or guarantees might an employer expect to comply with because as we know, US companies are really not prepared and are just not familiar with this at all?
Yeah, so parental or family leave generally falls into separate benefits category. Paid or unpaid leave for some guaranteed period of time for example, as we discussed before the leave under Family and Medical Leave, or FMLA, is unpaid in the US with guaranteed job protection for public agencies, public and private elementary and secondary schools, as well as companies with over 50 employees. US companies can decide to handle it differently to compete for talent or employees to use time off to stay home with their newborn child.
Other countries are much more generous in the leave that they offer in North America for instance, in Canada, new mothers can take up to 53 weeks of leave and their employer is required to return them to the same or prevalent job with the same plan benefits. The government also offers paid leave up to 15 weeks for one or both parents through Canada’s employment insurance plan.
Now in the UK, employees with 26 weeks of continuous service will be entitled to paid leave as a statutory leave. Let’s say in the Netherlands, the employer pays the salary towards maternity leave and is reimbursed by the government.
Second leave, one or both parents can take time off or share their time off. In the example I just gave for Canada and the UK, parents can split up their leave, they are guaranteed however they would like. Benefits are so different also from country to country, that is very important to learn more about the countries where we have our employees.
Chances are we will be looking at different regulations for each one so it’s very important to have the understanding and come in with an open perspective or open mind. What those benefits in countries may be or how different they will be?
Company vs. Government Parental Leave Regulations
You know, it’s something that companies will also need to budget too because I think that they probably don’t always take that into consideration that it could be a life change and as you have shared, it’s not only for the new mom, it’s also for the fathers, sometimes both, that sometimes they can split it and so just recognizing that there may be additional costs and you know where you have to bring in someone to cover for them or whatever those situations are that those are definitely, rights that are offered.
Actually, one of the things we wanted to, you know I want to find out is, like country to country so, is it always the company that decides like who actually decides on kind of the parental leave guidelines?
Governments either at a federal, or state, provincial-level determine the parental leave policies and, I mentioned this earlier, but companies can always choose to exceed the mandated requirement. They just cannot offer less than the mandated requirement.
Well, something that you need to think about in those hot labor markets is you might not be able to get away with just kind of the basic government program because you really are competing and I would imagine that’s a pretty hot benefit to offer if you have some kind of additional flexibility there, right?
Correct. I can’t say it enough that every country is so different that nearly all countries offer mothers some kind of leave and more than half offer fathers leave as well. And leave may be paid or unpaid, in most cases it’s probably paid. It varies in length and there is often some guarantee of the same or equivalent position upon return. So, it is imperative that companies understand the regulations for countries where they have employees.
When you work with companies that are going abroad, you have to probably, just completely make them aware of this because I would imagine they are really not, one, they are first thinking about it, right, because they are really just so short-sighted in the sense that we need to get there, we got get a sales team going, we need to get a development team going and just recognizing how this is such an important part of being an employer in a different country.
Yes, a lot of times we have to take a step back and really take the time to understand the local requirement because they do vary significantly than our standard US practices and most countries are much more generous in their leave entitlement than we are probably used to here in the US. So, it is important to fully understand the local requirements and the impact that can have internally as well.
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. We see hiring certainly right now and international hiring is just such an important part of finding the talent that is needed all over and you know just making sure that they understand that this is just a part of that process, is really critical. If someone wants to learn a little bit more about parental leave and all these sorts of things. You know what’s the best, you know what if you found to be super helpful and how do you usually approach companies that, like what’s the best way for them to communicate with you and maybe get some more insights.
We have created internal resources, created knowledge internally as well here at Global Upside. If anyone has any questions, they could currently reach out to myself or Global Upside team. There are also great resources that are available such as europa.eu, humanresourcesonline.net, just to name a few.
That’s great. I will make sure to have those resources on the blog article because again, as you said, every country is really different and figuring out how to navigate, that is really critical, isn’t it?
It is, it is yeah.
Was there anything else you wanted to share that I haven’t asked you, is there, did I miss anything or do you feel like we have covered the most critical pieces to know?
I think we have covered the most critical pieces.
Fantastic. So, Adriana, I want to thank you so much for joining us and just sharing your insights. It’s really been a pleasure to have you as our guest. Now to our listeners, make sure you join Globig’s free resource hub and if you are really serious about doing business internationally, the Globig international business HR and data privacy platform connects you to really really great services just like Global Upside and makes your day just so much more productive. So, subscribe to this podcast channel for more fantastic international expansion podcast.