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Quick question: What's one thing the United States and Russia have in common? Answer: No mandatory paternity leave for fathers

Father's Day

The countries with the best paid paternity leave for dads

By Cynthia Allum on June 19, 2015

What’s the best Father’s Day gift for new dads? Paid paternity leave!

Billionaire founder of Virgin Group Richard Branson received much fanfare when he recently announced that his company will offer some new dads a full year of paternity leave that will pay 100 percent of their salaries. The catch? It only applies to 140 employees, and only those who have been with the company for at least four years are eligible for the full salary perk. But it far exceeds what is required by law in the U.K., where Virgin is based: 14 consecutive days of leave with a flat rate benefit or 90% percent of the average weekly earnings, whichever is less.

That got us wondering which countries in the world offer the best paternity leave plans for new dads. Your best bet, even if you’re not a fan of IKEA and Swedish meatballs, might be moving to Sweden where government officials are looking to give dads three months of paid leave. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), by 2013, 79 out of 167 countries had legislation on paternity leave — and 71 of those nations require the leave to be paid.

Below is a list of where some of those countries stand, with their duration of paternity leave (in days), and the amount of paternity leave cash benefits (percent of previous earnings). Also, check out the map for a visual, which illustrates how North America and Asia have largely avoided mandated paternity leave.


Benin: 10 days | 100%

Burkina Faso: 10 days | 100%

Cameroon: 10 days | 100%

Central African Republic: 10 days | 100%

Chad: 10 days | 100%

Comoros: 10 days | 100%

Congo: 10 days | 1–%

Gabon: 10 days | 100%

Kenya: 14 days | 100%

Madagascar: 10 days | 100%

Mauritania: 10 days | 100%

Togo: 10 days | 100%



Bangladesh: 10 days | 100%

Cambodia: 10 days | 100%



Bosnia and Herzegovina: 7 working days (federal) | 100%

Croatia: 7 working days | 100%

Serbia: 7 working days | 100%



Ecuador: 10 days | 100%

Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of: 14 consecutive days | 100%



Australia: 14 days | Federal minimum wage

Belgium: 10 working days | 100% for first 3 days, 82% for remaining 7 days

Bulgaria: 15 days | 90%

Denmark: 14 consecutive days | 100%

Estonia: 10 working days | 100%

Finland: 54 working days | 70% up to a ceiling, plus 40% of an additional amount up to a ceiling, plus 25% of another additional amount

France: 11 working days | 100% up to a ceiling

Iceland: 90 consecutive days | 80% up to a ceiling

Latvia: 10 calendar days | 80%

Lithuania: 30 consecutive days | 100% up to a ceiling

Poland: 14 consecutive days | 100%

Portugal: 20 days (10 of which are compulsory) | 100%

Romania: 5 working days, or 10 if worker attended infant care courses | 100%

Slovenia: 90 consecutive days | 100% up to a ceiling (first 15 days); flat rate benefit (remaining 75 days)

Spain: 15 calendar days | 100%

Sweden: 10 days | 80% up to a ceiling

United Kingdom: 14 consecutive days | Flat rate benefit or 90% of the average weekly earnings, whichever is less

United States: No paternity leave


According to the ILO, paternity leaves help fathers learn how to reconcile work and family life, and it contributes to gender equality in the home (which leads to gender equality at work). Paternity leave is also important to promote early interaction with kids, which leads to successful child development. Partner presence and support also influences a mother’s decision to breastfeed, so it can significantly benefit maternal and child health.

Let’s hope companies around the world will continue to move towards adequate gender-inclusive policies — for everyone’s sake.