In the last 10 years, employees worldwide have witnessed a significant increase in maternity benefit generosity, according to a new research from consulting firm Mercer. Norway is with an average maternity leave period of 49 weeks the best place for women to go on maternity leave, while governments and employers in the UAE, Hong Kong and Lebanon are the least generous.
Maternity leave is an employee benefit for women available in almost all countries that provides paid time off work to give birth and take care of infant children. Often, the minimum benefits are stipulated by law, although each country around the world has its own regulations in place. In addition, in some cases employers tend to offer more generous policies, with the aim of stimulating a good workplace.
Every year, HR consulting firm Mercer benchmarks the maternity benefits of women across the globe, based on, among others, statutory and typical employer benefits. The just released 2014 edition of the study – titled Worldwide Benefit and Employment Guidelines (WBEG) – reveals that the maternity benefits of employees can range from anywhere between 49 weeks in Norway to a meagre 9 weeks in the UAE.
The good news though is that in the past decade maternity benefit generosity has increased “significantly” according to the consultants, driven by rising awareness for good workplace policies and female diversity within the workforce. An overview of the maternity benefit generosity for selected countries:
Looking at just the statutory paid maternity leave, the UAE, Hong Kong and Lebanon are the least generous countries for pregnant women, followed by the United States.