Considering a Move? These Countries Have Better Policies and Perks for Parents Than Australia

Best countries parental leave

As any (well, almost any) parent will tell you — being a parent is the most rewarding job in the world, but also one of the hardest. You’re suddenly having to put someone else’s needs before your own, pushed to limits you didn’t even know were possible and learning to survive on minimal sleep.

But, according to new research, it turns out that if you’re living in Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, your life as a parent is that much easier. The research, conducted by comparison site Compare the Market, ranked 38 countries and found Demark and Sweden to offer the most generous financial support. Meanwhile, Australia ranked #18 on the list.

“In terms of benefits, Denmark had the best package, dedicating 3.41% of its GDP to financial support for families,” reads the report. “Many Danish families receive up to two forms of child financial assistance from the time of birth, up to the time when the child turns 18. Single parents are also able to apply for a further child allowance to help with costs.”

Best countries parental leave
Image: Getty Images

Sweden follows behind Denmark, with family benefits public spending coming to 3.40% of the country’s GDP. Swedish parents receive a monthly child allowance from the government, split evenly if there are two parents/guardians until the child is 16 years of age, when the child becomes more financially independent.

Luxembourg was the only non-Scandinavian country to make the top three regarding the best monetary family benefits, with 3.30% of its public spending dedicated to family benefits. In the European country, citizens who have children are entitled to a family allowance, which is intended to help cover the costs of education as well as some living expenses. This allowance runs until either the child finishes schooling or turns 25.

The research also looked into the country’s parental leave policies. For that, Estonia topped the charts for the most paid annual leave available for parents, with an initial 20 weeks paid maternity leave available for mothers.

The parental leave can begin up to two months before the estimated delivery date, with dads able to get two weeks paid leave after the birth of their child. After the initial leave, one parent can take an additional 62 weeks leave from the end of the maternity leave at full compensation, based on the average of their pay rates.

Conversely, US parents again get the rough end of the stick with no paid parental leave entitlements. This slightly improves with Israel (second last) and Ireland (third last), offering 15 and 26 weeks of paid leave to their parents respectively.

The full list of the best countries with parental leave is here:

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