Maternity Leave Around the World: A Guide for International Employers

Hiring employees overseas will subject your company to host country employment and labor laws, which may be different from your home country rules or company policies. Despite any differences, you will need to comply with the foreign country’s laws, for both local and expat employees.

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Apr 08, 2019
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Hiring employees overseas will subject your company to host country employment and labor laws, which may be different from your home country rules or company policies.  Despite any differences, you will need to comply with the foreign country’s laws, for both local and expat employees.

Maternity leave is a statutory entitlement for female employees in many countries. This guide will give you examples of minimum maternity leave requirements in our most commonly enquired about countries, and compare their differences.  While there are sound family and health reasons for maternity leave policies for employees, as an international employer you should be aware of how extended or paid leave can affect your overseas business.

The primary factors that will affect your overall cost and the structure of maternity leave include:

  • The total number of days or weeks allowed before and after delivery
  • The number of days that are paid or unpaid
  • Percentage of wages paid per day
  • Whether the leave days are paid by the employer or by the government

In addition to maternity leave for a new mother, many countries also offer paternal leave (for the father) and parental leave for both parents to care for a newborn child in the first year.  Most of these entitlements require that the employee be in service and making social security contributions for a minimum period such as 3-6 months before they can apply for leave. 

Countries with Maternity Leave Entitlements Longer than 16 weeks

If you are hiring employees in any of the following countries, your company should be prepared to shoulder both the cost and length of absence for maternity leave, which can be significant.  The UK leads in total leave time with 39 weeks of paid/semi-paid leave (plus 13 weeks unpaid), followed by India with 26 weeks of fully paid leave...read more

Shield GEO makes international employment simple. Our customers use Shield GEO to employ and payroll hundreds of workers in over fifty countries. Find out more. 


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Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd

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