Fri. Jan 22nd, 2021

Maternity leave: How South Africa compares globally

maternity leave south africa vs the worldWhile South Africa’s a long way off from some Scandinavian countries, we’re doing far better than the USA or UAE when it comes to maternity leave.

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In the last few months, amendments to South Africa’s labour law has focussed a lot on paternal leave and its changes. It’s a progressive step, but maternity leave is still at the top end of benefits many companies use to lure some of the country’s brightest minds to their organisations.

While private companies can add whatever perks they wish, South African law prescribes four months of maternity leave.

If you contribute to the unemployment insurance fund, you can also claim up to a maximum of 60% depending on level of income. Benefits are paid for a maximum of 17.32 weeks and must be claimed by UIF.

Some private companies offer up to 100% of a new mom’s pay,
but how does all of this stack up against the rest of world?

Maternity leave in South Africa vs the rest of the world

Data below is taken from the United Nations. However, it’s important to note that some of these metrics might have changed since the data was last captured. These metrics are merely a way to provide a rough overview.

Countries with the most maternity leave

Some quick notes on maternity leave globally:

  • Sweden leads the way with the most maternity leave and also offers fairly equal time off for both parents.
  • In the United Kingdom, employers are required to offer one year of leave to new mothers. During the first six weeks, new moms are eligible for 90% of their original pay.
  • Both Serbia and Albania offers 365 calendar days of maternity leave. In both countries, the amount of pay diminishes over time.
Country Days Salary
Sweden 480 80% for up to 390 days
Norway 400+ 80-100%
Croatia 365+ 100%
UK 365 90% for the first six weeks
Serbia 365 Varies, starting from 1000%
Albania 365 Varies, starting from 80%

Countries with the least maternity leave

Many countries, including the United States, offer just 12
weeks of maternity leave – with the amount of pay that can be claimed varying
from country to country.

According to the UN’s data, the following countries offer
just 12 weeks of maternity leave.

  • Dominica   
  • Dominican Republic     
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea         
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Haiti 
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho      
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Myanmar
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay    
  • Rwanda
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sri Lanka
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • USA
  • Uruguay
  • Vauatu
  • Zambia

That’s not as bad as over in the United Arab Emirates and
Bahrain, though. Both countries offer just 45 days of maternity leave, or less
than a month and a half.

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