Maternity and paternity leave: the small print

Author: Ben Shore, BBC, Published on: 20 October 2010

To think of maternity leave as a straightforward benefit to a new mum is wrong. European policy makers need to balance not just their desire to provide security for mothers, and to ensure they do not damage their careers, but also how far to encourage gender equality by encouraging fathers to stay at home and, not least, the significant consequences for employers...In some countries, certain employers offer significantly better benefits than those mandated by law...[Alternatives to maternity leave include] parent leave...[which]...can be taken by either mother or father, or split between the two...[or] paternity leave. [Policy examples from Germany, France, New Zealand, UK, Iceland, USA].

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