Planning on having a baby? Move to Sweden!

I love living in this country for so many reasons... but the way new moms are treated here is definitely NOT one of them. One of the things I dreaded the most whenever I thought about having children was the issue of maternity leave, which really is a non-issue considering the U.S. doesn't offer paid maternity leave to either moms or dads. While the U.S. does guarantee 12 weeks of non-paid leave, it's only for parents who have worked at least 12 months and for companies with 50 employees or more. Unfortunately, these rules apply to only half the women in the U.S., which totally sucks--especially considering what other countries around the world offer their citizens for parental leave. 

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Let's take a tour:

  • Denmark: Parents get 52 weeks leave, 18 weeks for mom (4 of which can be taken prior to delivery) and 2 weeks for dad at the same time. The remaining 32 weeks can be split between them. So, baby gets to stay with either mom or dad during his or her first year.
  • Norway: Parents have the option of taking 46 weeks parental leave at 100% of their salary or 56 weeks at 80% of their salary. Oh, and 10 weeks of the total amount of leave are just for daddies, encouraging them to bond with their babies!
  • Finland: The Finnish get 44 weeks parental leave. And you don't even have to be from there to receive this benefit. As long as you're there 180 days before the birth of your child to be entitled to it. 
  • Italy: Wow! Parents there get to take 64 weeks off. That's not all, mom are actually forbidden from working two months prior to their due date and three months after the birth. Forbidden, you read right!

And last but definitely not least...

  • Sweden: The Swedish are guaranteed a whopping 68 weeks of paid leave to split between them. Parents there also get to use those 480 days as they please, with the option to use them up until their child is 8 years old. 

While it's true that these people pay a ton in taxes, we get to pay a ton in childcare. Not to mention the emotional stress many moms go through when having to leave their newborn in the care of someone else. 

How much maternity leave did you get? 

Image via John Biehler/flickr