Estonia is the Most Generous Country to New Parents

Sander Nõmmik
Author Sander Nõmmik

Statutory parental-leave packages vary widely across the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries. Some have long paid-leave entitlements, but provide skimpy benefits for a large part of them. Others offer shorter leave periods but at full pay. One measure that allows for an easy comparison of countries’ generosity to new parents is the full-pay equivalent portion of the leave. That is the length of leave that would be covered if it were paid at 100% of the average worker’s earnings.

In Estonia, for example, new mothers can stay at home for three years, receiving total pay equal to about a year and a half of the average salary. Among rich countries, Australia, Britain, Ireland and Switzerland are at the stingy end, offering mothers leave equivalent to three months or less of full pay.

See the chart of OECD countries’ parental leaves on the website of The Economist.