Many European men after the birth of a child go on paid maternity leave.. Let’s see how profitable it is, including financially. And what are the chances that isolated cases will become massive.
Maternity leave is an important aspect of employment law in almost every country in the world. At the moment, only nine states do not regulate this point in any way. But only forty years ago there were many more. How did it all begin?
Maternity and child protection
The Germans and the Swedes were the first to enshrine child care leave in law, in 1883 and 1891. And in 1919, at the initiative of the International Labor Organization, the decree was declared the most important principle in protecting mothers and children. True, until the second half of the twentieth century it was not the norm in most countries of the world. The consequences of World Wars I and II greatly affected Europe. The gravest crisis, the shortage of labor – all this led to rapid changes in labor law.
The United Nations has established a standard of at least fourteen weeks of paid maternity leave and at least two-thirds of the regular salary for the birth of a child. In some states, however, these standards are not respected even today. Therefore, maternity leave always remains the subject of fierce debate.
Once first- and second-generation human rights (freedom, labor, social support, education, etc.) were firmly established in all developed countries, the turn came for the third wave. First of all, it includes the right to equal opportunities for both sexes. This means that the decree has become available to fathers as well.
In Scandinavia, fathers have long been involved in the upbringing and care of children on an equal footing with mothers. Back in 1974, men in Sweden were entitled to a maternity leave of a few days. Later it was extended up to a month, and today it is already 90 calendar days with payment of at least 80% of salary. Dads are very willing to take maternity leave under these conditions. True, a parent can only be on leave for three months. And the man has no right to give his maternity leave to his partner.
Dad, leisurely strolling with the stroller – a familiar sight in Finland and Iceland. Norwegian fathers are also entitled to fourteen weeks of paid maternity leave, in addition to ten days off immediately after the baby is born. Few take advantage of all the time allowed, however. Most go back to work after about eight weeks. The Norwegian government is in no hurry to reduce quotas. As shown by the example of Denmark, where they abandoned such restrictions, it is too increasing the burden on mothers.
But there are other, more flexible models. For example, in Poland. There the maternity leave consists of twenty weeks. Fourteen of these immediately go to the mother, two to the father. The parents can divide the remaining period as they see fit. Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, and France use a similar system.
On average in Northern Europe, more than 80% of young fathers take maternity leave. And if we take the European Union as a whole, 41% of men have either been on maternity leave or plan to go on it. The reason for this is the noticeable progress in gender equality. And also laws which, after the birth of a baby, provide at least two mandatory weeks of leave for each father.
Asian states remain more conservative in this regard. But even there, male paternity leave is becoming increasingly popular. As of 2020, already 6 percent of Japanese men have taken advantage of their mandated leave. One of them was Shinjiro Koizumi, Minister of the Environment. Government programs aimed at increasing women’s employment have played a significant role in this.
A happy family and a successful career
Various studies show that when a man goes on maternity leave, everyone wins. The employer, the young father himself, his partner and, of course, the child.
The main advantages of such a decision:
It is very important for your child to feel a connection not only with his mother, but also with his father from the very first days of his life. Both tactile and emotional contact is important. Children who regularly see both parents when they are babies, spend time with them, play and communicate grow up to be more balanced and stress-resistant. And the man learns quicker to be a good father and set the right example for his son or daughter.
Improving Relationships in a Couple
Spending time together with your other half during this period is also important. It strengthens mutual understanding and trust.
Strengthening mental and physical health
Communicating with his wife and children in an environment devoid of work stresses, a man feels more satisfied. He feels more connected to his family. And he gets more positive emotions that prolong life.
Progress in gender equality
When the stronger sex participates equally with women in parenting, baby care and other household chores, they realize how difficult it is to perform all these seemingly simple tasks on a daily basis. And realizes the need for a fair gender policy, equal distribution of responsibilities, equal opportunities and pay.
A profitable staffing strategy
If both parents can go on maternity leave, employers will no longer give preference to men exclusively when hiring. After all, the reluctance of management to lose an employee due to maternity has deprived many women of career prospects. In this case, if the main role is played by gender, the position may go to a candidate with lower qualifications. Which is not very good for the company. And when both men and women are initially on an equal footing, the bosses can more reasonably dispose of personnel potential. And thanks to the opportunity to go on maternity leave in turn, the balance in the labor market is almost unchanged.
When young professionals return from leave, they are more productive and results-oriented. They return more mentally and physically stable. And they are more loyal to their employer. Therefore, they work more and better, increasing the company’s profits.
Quick career advancement at the expense of personal happiness is no longer in demand. There are more and more people for whom a balance between personal life and career is more important than anything else. Employees of both sexes want to be able to devote time to family without losing a good job. And they willingly go on maternity leave. Business owners understand this, as well as the aforementioned benefits of maternity leave. And more and more managers are prioritizing the professional qualities and potential of employees over their gender, age and marital status. We want to believe that this positive trend will be firmly entrenched in all countries.