Pregnant Woman

Top 10 Countries for Maternity Leave

Table of contents

Maternity leave around the world varies based on a lot of different factors, whether it be the cultural norms, health of the economy, or otherwise.  In no particular order, here are the top countries that provide paid and lengthy maternity leave around the world.


In Norway, mothers are entitled to up to 54 weeks of paid maternity leave which is calculated based on the average of the last three salaries. If there is more than a 25% difference between the annual income and the average of the past 3 months, the National Insurance will take this into consideration and decide which amount shall be granted to the mother.  Mothers can choose between what is called ‘degrees of coverage’ which essentially allows her to choose between two different maternity leave plans:

  1. 54 weeks of maternity leave and is entitled to 80% of her regular pay.
  2. 44 weeks of maternity leave at the rate of 100% of her regular pay.

Expecting mothers can begin their maternity leave at least 3 weeks before the expected due date.


Finland allows a mother to take 105 working days of paid maternity leave. At earliest, the leave begins 50 working days and at latest 30 working days before the expected due date of the child.  Finnish Social Insurance is responsible for paying the maternity allowance to the mother.  In addition, when the mother reached 154 days of gestation, she can begin collecting maternity benefits.

Maternity package- A box that contains baby clothes as well as care items for the child. If the mother chooses, she is able to take a tax-free sum for the amount of 170 EUR instead of the package.

Special maternity allowance- This is an additional allowance that a mother can claim if she has to be absent from work before the maternity leave starts if:

  • work involves exposure to chemicals, radiation, or infectious diseases
  • risk is unavoidable at the workplace and the employer is not able to arrange different responsibilities.


Iceland allows 5 months of maternity leave plus an additional 2 that can be shared between the mother and the father and can start one month before the expected due date of the child. Maternity is paid at a rate of 80% of their regular pay, averaged over 12 months.

During the pregnancy, if the work is deemed dangerous to the mother, the employer is required to temporarily change the working conditions.  If they aren’t able to do so, the woman is entitled to leave with pay.


In Sweden, maternity leave is 480 days.

For the first 390 days, the mother is entitled to full pay, and for the remaining 90 days, are entitled to the minimum amount.

In addition, if the child resides in outside of Sweden in any EU or EEA country or Switzerland and the mother is covered by Swedish social insurance, the mother is still entitled to maternity pay.


Maternity leave in Germany is 14 weeks and the mother is paid 100% of her regular wages.  After the 14 weeks, the mother received 65% of the regular salary (capped at 1,800 EUR) until the child reaches the age of 12 months.


Maternity leave is 20 weeks in Estonia and a mother may begin taking this leave between 70 and 30 days before the expected due date of the child.  Health insurance pays the maternity allowance which is paid at a rate of 100%.

Childbirth allowance- When a child is born, an allowance of 320 EUR is granted.  If triplets are conceived, the amount is 1,000 EUR per child.


In Belgium, maternity leave is 15 weeks long.  The woman must begin maternity leave at least one week (and up to 6 weeks) before the expected due date of the child and at least 9 weeks after the birth.  For the first 30 days, the woman is entitled to 82% of the regular pay and 75% (capped at 104.80 EUR per day) for the remainder of the leave.

In addition to this, there is an additional allowance of 1,200 EUR for the first child and 900 EUR for each additional child that is granted.

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, a woman is entitled to 28 weeks of maternity leave or 37 weeks for multiple births. Maternity leave can start at earliest 8 weeks before the expected due date and must take at least 6 weeks of leave after the birth of the child.  Maternity leave is compensated at 70% of the regular salary.


In Spain, maternity leave can be taken at a maximum of 16 consecutive weeks immediately after the birth of the child. Employees on maternity leave receive social security payments during the leave period equal to 100% of the mother’s average monthly salary. In addition, if the mother so chooses, four weeks can be transferred to the other parent.

The first 6 weeks following the birth must be taken consecutively with no interruption.


Maternity leave in Bulgaria is 410 days. Maternity leave can begin at least 45 days before the expected due date.  When the child reaches the age of 6 months, it is possible to transfer the remainder of the maternity leave over to the father.

The maternity leave allowance is the average of 90% of the regular over the past 24 months and is paid out by the social security.

To determine overall cost of hiring around the world based upon paid time off, average salary and employer tax see our infographic.