The trend toward both parents working in a family is growing throughout Asia and globally. And in the age of the superdad, where building a career and raising children simultaneously is the norm, paid paternity leave is a highly sought-after benefit for workers all over the world.
Here’s a look at the state of paternity leave throughout Asia and around the globe.
Paternity leave in Asia
China: Paternity leave in China depends on a number of factors, including where the father is registered for social security and the age of the mother. In general, leave is usually no more than 14 days.
Hong Kong: Working dads in Hong Kong are only entitled to three days’ parental leave at 80% of their usual pay rate. Fathers can take the leave at any time from four weeks before the expected birth date to 10 weeks after the baby's arrival.
Japan: In Japan, parental leave is applicable to either the working father or mother. Either parent is entitled to a full year off, generally earning 60% of their salary throughout. Despite this, only 2% of dads in Japan chose to take paternity leave in 2015.
Singapore: In Singapore, younger generations of fathers are increasingly living with spouses who work, with 75.9% of fathers under the age of 35 and 69.1% of fathers aged 35-49 in dual-career households. As of 1 January 2017, working fathers in Singapore have been entitled to two weeks of paternity leave funded by the Singaporean Government. Workers must have been doing the same job for at least three months prior to the birth of the child to be eligible.
Taiwan: Fathers in Taiwan are entitled to three days of paid paternity leave after their child is born. Both parents, if they have worked for their employer for at least a year, can also take parental leave – a maximum of two years of unpaid leave.
Generous paternity leave policies
Historically, Scandinavian countries have had the most liberal paternity leave policies. For instance, parents in Sweden have been able to share 12 months of parental leave since 1974. Nowadays, parents are entitled to 480 days of parental leave, with 390 days paid at 80% of the parent’s usual salary. Of those 480 days, 90 days are specifically reserved for the father, and the rest can be shared as preferred.
In Denmark, working dads can take two weeks off during the first 14 weeks after a child’s birth, and from that point, parents can split an additional 32 weeks’ leave. The impact of these policies is evident – Scandinavian countries consistently fall in the top 10 happiest countries in the world on the World Happiness Report, which takes into account factors such as social support and freedom.
The importance of paternity leave is also starting to extend further throughout Europe, with many countries adopting more generous leave policies for dads. In Spain, paternity leave has recently increased from 13 days to four weeks fully paid by social security, whilst in Slovenia fathers have the right to 90 days’ paternity leave.
While there are still some countries that have yet to adopt any official paternity leave policy, it’s clear that a health work-life balance for new dads is becoming increasingly valued across the globe.
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