Agile Governance

These are the countries with the best paternity policies in the world

Kaia Kersaint, 10 weeks, waits patiently as her father Tino Kersaint and mother Koali Kersaint cast their votes for Georgia's 6th Congressional District special election at Livsey Elementary School in Tucker, Georgia, U.S., June 20, 2017.  REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry - RTS17WQW

The list compares paternity leave and other provisions for new fathers. Image: REUTERS/Chris Aluka Berry

Chris Weller
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As the US still struggles to secure basic maternity leave policy, some countries have already moved on to improving time off just for fathers.

it's important to recognize which nations have made the biggest leaps in granting new dads that important time off.

Here are the best countries to be a new father.


New parents in Sweden are entitled to 480 days of leave at 80% of their normal pay.

Dads get 90 paid paternity days reserved just for them. The idea is to promote bonding between father and child during a time when moms are getting most of the attention.


Fathers in Estonia are given two weeks of paid time off to promote extra bonding with their child. They can also choose to take some of the time off during the final two months before the expected delivery date.

After maternity leave ends, parents get an additional 435 days off to share, with compensation calculated at the average of their two earnings.


Icelandic parents can split their nine months of post-childbirth leave straight down the middle.

New moms get three months, new dads get three months, and then it's up to the couple to decide how they'll split the remaining three months.

Each parent receives 80% of their salary while on leave.


New fathers get four weeks, and together the parents get an additional 156 weeks to share.

For the shared portion, the parents can decide whether to have it paid out at 100% for the first 52 weeks (until the child is turns 1) or 70% for the first 104 weeks (until the child is 2 years old). The remaining weeks are unpaid.


Slovenian fathers have a guaranteed 90 days of paternity leave. The first 15 days are paid at 100% of their salary, while the remaining 75 are paid at minimum wage.

Maternity leave lasts 105 days, including 28 to be taken before the expected due date.


Hungarian fathers get one week paid in fulland then another 156 weeks to split with the mother, after she's taken her 24 weeks of maternity leave.

The time off is paid at 70% of their salary for 104 weeks, and a flat rate covers the rest.


Norway's system is flexible and generous. Fathers can take between zero and 10 weeks depending on their wives' income, while mothers can take 35 weeks at full pay or 45 weeks at 80% pay.

Together, parents can receive an additional 46 weeks at full pay or 56 weeks at 80% of their income.


Finnish fathers are granted eight weeks of paid leave, while mothers are given 23 weeks split between pregnancy and child-rearing.

After a child turns 3, parents can also take partial care leave, in which they split time between home and work. That lasts until the child starts second grade.

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