Alliierte Schulen Graz
Parental leave is a major part of 'work-life balance' or 'reconciliation of work and family life' measures. Leave schemes may be a way for parents - especially mothers - to avoid the time devoted to the care and education of their children being an obstacle to their careers. Originally developed as support for parents to make it easier for them to continue working or to get back into employment after a break, parental leave can also be a means of fostering gender equality. However, leave may also worsen the difficulties faced by some parents, mainly mothers, in trying to keep a job or in returning to employment. Leave schemes may also accentuate 'career discontinuity', which is most prevalent among women. In such cases, parental leave might, ultimately, undermine rather than promote gender equality at work, at home and in the family by reinforcing women taking on a greater share of parenting duties.

Family-related leave is normally broken down into four categories:

maternity leave, with compensation generally covering part or all of the mother’s regular wage, often for a period of approximately 15 weeks, some of which are taken prior to the birth of the child;

paternity leave, consisting generally of a few days off for fathers immediately following the birth of a child;

parental leave consisting of a block of several months to care for a young child, following on from maternity leave. Traditionally, this type of leave has either been unpaid or compensation has, as is the case in Austria and Germany, been a flat-rate benefit. In some northern European countries, it may be a contribution-based social insurance benefit calculated as all or part of the individual’s normal pay; and

leave to care for older children in special circumstances- illness, disability, an emergency situation etc.

Table: Statutory maternity leave - duration and compensation

Duration (1)Compensation as % of pay   
.Under 80%Between 80% and 100%100% 
14-15 weeksBelgium-Germany Slovenia 
16-18 weeksFinland (6)DenmarkAustria France Greece Luxembourg Netherlands Poland Portugal Spain 
21 weeks-Italy- 
24 weeks +Hungary Ireland UK (2)UK (3) Slovakia (5) Sweden (4)Norway (4) 

(1) For the first child - may be longer for the second and subsequent children (Poland) or the third child (France and Spain); (2) for 20 weeks after the first six weeks; (3) for the first six weeks out of a total 26 paid weeks; (4) no specific maternity leave - mother’s leave is included de facto in the parental leave scheme available to the two parents; (5) compensation as a percentage of income is very low for vast majority of employees because of a very low ceiling on compensation; (6) the compensation level varies, and is actually 100 % for some for some mothers.

powered by: Wikiservice
Kulturvermittlung Steiermark
© Teilnehmer des Projektes Allied Schools Graz zuletzt bearbeitet am: 11. Mai 2006