Maternity Leave in India versus Other Countries

Following the recent approval of the Maternity Benefit (Amended) Bill, 2016, working mothers are now entitled to a whole host of benefits. The amended bill now provides working mothers with paid maternity leave for 26 weeks instead of 12 weeks. Also, it allows for a work from home facility, if possible.

The measure requires employers with more than 50 employees to provide a Creche for children. It also increases the maximum leave period before giving birth from 6 weeks to 8 weeks.

India’s Maternity Leave versus Other Countries

Different countries provide their own set of maternity leave and benefits to their women employees. However, the period of leave differs across various countries. Now let’s see where India stands in comparison to other countries when it comes to maternity benefits.


Sweden has the best maternity leave package in the world so far. It provides 56 weeks of maternity leave with 80% of monthly salary payment. In addition, it also provides an extension of 13 more weeks at a fixed rate. The rate is subject to negotiation between the employer and the employee.

Moreover, the country likewise provides 34 weeks of paternity leave to new fathers. Furthermore, same-sex couples are also allowed to file for maternity or paternity leave, if applicable.


Croatia provides 24 weeks of maternity leave with 100% salary to their working mothers. Also, it allows an extension of 34 weeks at a fixed negotiable rate.

Moreover, similar to Sweden, Croatia recognizes paternity leave, granting 34 weeks of paternity leave to new fathers.

United Kingdom

In U.K., maternity leave is best known as statutory maternity leave. It provides 52 weeks leave to working mothers, which is generally divided into two segments – the first 26 weeks is the ordinary maternity week while the second 26 weeks is the additional part of leave.

Statutory maternity pay is being paid for the first 39 weeks and the rate of payment can reach up to 90% of the average salary following tax deductions.

Meanwhile, U.K. provides 26 weeks of paternity leave.


The length of maternity leave in Canada depends on the employment history as well as the average hours of work of an employee. Typically, the duration of maternity leave varies between 17 and 52 weeks, and the amount of payment is up to 55% of the employee’s monthly salary. However, for families with lower income, it can reach up to 80%.

Moreover, the Canadian government offers generous incentives to new parents for availing government insurance systems. In addition, the country likewise provides 35 weeks of paternity leave.

United States

Under the law of the United States, the country does not provide paid maternity leave.

So far, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) regulates maternity benefits across the country. The same provides at least 12 weeks of unpaid annual leave for working mothers of new born or newly adopted children.

Ironically, such policy is pretty unusual for a highly developed and industrialized country like the U.S.A. In fact, its duration of maternity leave is shorter than most countries. Also, the country has no provision for paid leave, unlike many other countries.

Some other countries that do not provide provisions for paid maternity leave include Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.

Apparently, a lot of countries provide better provisions of benefits than India. Nevertheless, there are still some well-developed nations like the U.S.A. that were left behind in terms of Maternity leave and benefits.

So far, India has already reached the third position following Canada and Norway. When talking about a measurable scale, India lies somewhere in the middle.

However, India still does not have provision for paternal leave and parenting leave for same-sex couples so far.

Hopefully, after all the changing trend of the society and provisions for parental leave accordingly will further improve the quality of life in India for the benefit of both the parent and the baby.

Obviously, India’s maternity leave and benefit provisions still need some room for improvement. Nevertheless, it still stands at a much better ranking than many other countries.