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A look at maternity benefits in 5 countries

Published on Jun 24, 2014 6:11 PM
 
United States President Barack Obama takes part in a round table discussion during the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014, in Washington, DC. Mr Obama said on Monday that the United States was on its “lonesome” as the only developed nation not to offer paid maternity leave, in a report by AFP. -- PHOTO: AFP

United States President Barack Obama said on Monday that the United States was on its “lonesome” as the only developed nation not to offer paid maternity leave, in a report by AFP.

Mr Obama headlined a “Working Families Summit” in Washington and flexed his presidential powers to direct government agencies to adopt more flexible workplace practices to allow parents to manage home and professional commitments.

“If France can figure this out, we can figure it out,” Mr Obama said. He called on lawmakers to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable workplace flexibility for pregnant women who stay on the job close to their due dates.

We look at how five other developed countries in the world fare in terms of maternity benefits.

FRANCE

-- PHOTO: AFP

Mothers can take up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave for the first two children and 26 weeks for the third child. At the end of the maternity leave, the mother or father can take parental leave, or opt to work part-time till the child reaches the age of three. Women are guaranteed full-time jobs when they choose to return. Maternity leave, both prenatally and postnatally, is mandatory

Weeks after giving birth, French women are offered a state-paid course to help them start having sex again as soon as possible. Other freebies include a personal trainer and computer games that help them exercise.This is in addition to other perks such as free nursery schools, tax deductions for each child and generous family allowances.

SWEDEN

A Swedish father with his two children. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

 
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