Select Committee on Social Security Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Parental Leave arrangements in EU member states

Information taken from Paper by Peter Moss, Thomas Coram Institute, except in col on take-up rates where information is from Demos report or New Ways to Work (NWW) survey on Parental Leave in EU States

Country YearParental leave arrangements Parental leave payTake-up Emp ratesOther leave arrangements

AustriaParental leave introduced in 1990 Family leave—F/t leave until child is 18 months—2 years if both parents take leave. Yes—flat-rate pay; higher rate for lone parents and low incomes. Pro-rata—p/t leave. 90 per cent women

1 per cent men (Demos)
67 per cent mothers and

93 per cent fathers
Belgium1998Individual leave—3 months F/T leave, or up to 6 months P/T up to child's 4th birthday. Yes—flat-rate pay.In 1st 6 mths 97 took leave,9 per cent male (NWW) 65 per cent mothers and

91 per cent fathers
Career break scheme—up to 5 years' if unemployed person taken on. 3 days paternity leave (4 days in public sector), 100 per cent pay.
Denmark1984Family—10 weeks' f/t family leave + 13 weeks' individual childcare leave up to age 8. Family leave—flat rate @ 100 per cent unemployment benefit Childcare—flat rate—60 per cent UB 1996—28,326 women & 2,253 men (92 per cent women) (NWW) no data availableChildcare leave doubled from 13 to 26 weeks where taken before child is one. 10 days paternity leave—100 per cent UB
Finland1980Family—26 weeks per family Earnings related—43-82 per cent earnings—higher precentage for lower paid. 99 per cent women, and 2 per cent men70 per cent mothers and 86 per cent fathers Childcare leave up to child's 3rd birthday—flat-rate pay; option for reduced hours.
France1985Family—f/t leave up to child's 3rd birthday; p/t option. None for first child; flat-rate for second & subsequent births; reduced for p/t option No data62 per cent mothers and 89 per cent fathers 3 days' paternity leave to be taken within 15 days before and after birth.
Germany1986Family—f/t leave up to child's 3rd birthday; p/t option. Yes—flat-rate until child is 2, subject to income ceiling. 1995-96 per cent women and 2 per cent men (NWW) 58 per cent mothers and 89 per cent fathers
Greece1986Individual right—3 months f/t leave—but only where 50 or more employees. No pay.No data49 per cent mothers and 94 per cent fathers
Ireland1998Individual right—14 weeks to be taken before child is 5; can take leave in shorter blocks. No pay.No data43 per cent mothers and84 per cent fathers
Italy1977—amended 1998 Family—10 months f/t leave until child is one—4 months to be taken by each parent. Earnings-related—30 per cent of earnings. No data44 per cent mothers and90 per cent fathers
Luxembourg1998Individual right to 6 months f/t or 1 years p/t leave before child is 5, but 1 parent must take PL after maternity leave. Yes—but for one parent only—flat-rate for 6 months. No dataNo data.Option for one parent to claim low flat rate pay for up to 22 months—no guarantee of re- employment.
Netherlands1991Individual right to 6 months' p/t leave—must work at least 20 hours. None.No data57 per cent mothers and93 per cent fathers
Portugal1984Individual right to 6 months' f/t leave until child is 3—longer for 3 or more children. NoneNo data71 per cent mothers and92 per cent fathers
Spain1994Family—12 months f/t leave—can be shared. NoneNo data39 per cent mothers and86 per cent fathers Option for further 2 years' leave but no guarantee of re- employment.
Sweden1974Individual right to 18 months f/t leave—until child is 8. Options for shorter periods and p/t. Yes—family entitlement—Parental allowance per family: 360 days at 80 per cent earnings & 90 days flat-rate. Father must take 30 days' or it is lost. 90 per cent women and 10 per cent men but 50 per cent men take some leave No data.Two weeks' paternity leave, paid at 80 per cent earnings. Parents may work 75 per cent working hours during child's first year at school (unpaid).

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Prepared 2 November 1999