Back to Work with Small Children Comparative Analyses of Maternity/Paternity Leave in the Member States of the European Union

Simona Maria Stanescu


The paper contributes to the debate on how to increase fertility. The design of maternity/paternity leave in the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) is researched by secondary analyses on Eurostat and MISSOC databases. Results are presented by three categories of member states: EU founders, other old member states, and Central and East European (CEE) countries. The first part of the article overviews 1960-2012 demographic trends. The second part compares maternity/paternity leave as regulations, applicable statutory basis, basic principles and qualification conditions for benefits in kind and cash benefits, and the duration. 2012 EU-28 confronted the second highest values of deaths recorded for the period 1960-2012 while EU-28 births scored the lowest value since 2006. Updates for maternity/paternity leave date since 2000 in 24 out of EU-28. Five member states follow pre-accession regulations. Legislation focuses specifically on maternity/paternity leave was adopted in 14 member states. Affiliation to compulsory social insurance scheme is the basic principle in providing benefits in kind and cash benefits. Half of member states do not request qualifying conditions for benefits in kind while six don’t request any conditions for cash benefits. As duration, the pre-natal maternity leave implies either a precise period of time; either the total leave is to be shared with the post-natal periods. Pre-natal parental leave is regulated in only one country (Estonia); while post-natal is available in 21 member states. Maternity/paternity leave in the case of adoption is regulated in 21 EU member states.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2s5p363

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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