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The Best Countries in Europe to Become Parents

With recent studies from Biomed Central and the Institute for Social Policy revealing that appropriate parental leave is pivotal for the well-being of mothers, fathers and children, countries across the globe are having their parental leave laws called into question. The duration and the percentage of wages remunerated during maternity and paternity leave are evidently vital for a family’s opportunity to overcome what can be an incredibly challenging period.

Curious to uncover more on the parental leave quality across Europe, Reboot Digital PR sought to determine the best European country for new parents. After analysing the length, wage percentages and equal distribution of both maternity and paternity leave, they can now reveal all!

We hope you find this release useful. If you do end up using it, we kindly ask that you provide a link to the company that commissioned the data: Reboot Digital PR.

The Results

RankCountryMaternity Leave Days Paid at 100%Paternity Leave Days Paid at 100%Days of Shared Parental Leave Paid at 100%

Results are sorted by most equal distribution of maternity and paternity leave after considering shared parental leave.

Reboot Digital PR can reveal Sweden is the best European country to become a new parent, offering a whopping 216 days of fully paid maternity and paternity leave, with 240 days total. This means Sweden also boasts the most days of guaranteed paid paternity leave in Europe, 55% more than Iceland (120 days) in 2nd place.

However, Iceland manages to pinch the silver medal by offering an additional 48 days of shared parental leave alongside 120 days of fully paid leave for both parents. With 32 weeks of maternity leave, resulting in 160 total days, Iceland’s given days are the 6th highest in Europe.

Finland takes third place with 112 fully paid days for both parents, and an additional28 days of shared parental leave, while Spain places fourth boasting 80 days of fully paid leave for mothers and fathers and 80 days more in shared parental leave. This makes Spain the last country on the list to assign equal care to both new parents.

Reboot Digital PR can reveal that on average in Europe, fathers receive 76% less paid leave than mothers, with 26 days paternity leave compared to 110 days maternity leave.

The Top Five European countries to become a mother, by days of fully paid leave.

  • Latvia – 448 days
  • United Kingdom – 234 days
  • Sweden – 216 days
  • Italy – 150 days
  • Luxembourg – 140 days

The Top Five European countries to become a father, by days of fully paid leave.

  • Sweden – 216 days
  • Iceland – 120 days
  • Finland – 112 days
  • Spain – 80 days
  • Poland – 44 days

Reboot Digital PR’s co-founder and managing director Naomi Aharony has provided a comment on the importance of fair parental leave, and an employer’s role in maintaining new parents’ well-being:

“Parental leave is essential in helping to build a child’s social and psychological development. For employers, the benefits are also important as evidence indicates it helps promote staff well-being and productivity which in turn helps with staff retention rates. The EU has adopted promising new directives over the last few years to tackle the work-life balance for parents but there is still a way to go before equality for parents is fully achieved.”

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