At 39 weeks full pay, the UK offers the longest maternity leave of any of the 20 countries analyzed by EDGE in its recent EquiNations report.
India offers 26 weeks fully paid maternity leave. Australia, Brazil, China, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Vietnam all impress, too, as they exceed the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 18-week maternity leave recommendation.
The US mandates zero weeks of maternity leave, joining Thailand (nine weeks), Mexico (12 weeks), and Indonesia (12 weeks) as the only countries providing less paid maternity leave than the ILO’s minimum requirement of 14 weeks.
In the countries analyzed, new fathers are allotted just over two weeks of leave on average. New mothers average over 17 weeks off. Spain is the only country study which provides the same amount of leave to mothers and fathers, allotting them both 16 weeks at 100% pay.
EDGE’s report found that half of the 20 countries – primarily those in Europe as the ten are Australia, Austria, Belgium, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy have actually mandated that employers report their gender pay gap.
But, interestingly, the countries differ significantly in their treatment of data relating to race and ethnicity. Four countries – France, Germany, Austria, and Belgium – have outlawed any collection of such information. Seven countries – the UK, US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, and Mexico – explicitly allow employers to track this data.
In the US, employers with more than 100 employees are required to report demographic data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
DEIB legislation should be the minimum, not the standard
While it is crucial that organizations abide by regulations on ethnicity data collection, in other areas like the gender pay gap and parental leave, amid such a dizzyingly contrasting array of legislation, one thing is clear: companies cannot rely solely on the guidance of their governments.
Just because something isn’t mandated, doesn’t mean that organizations cannot go above and beyond to do better around diversity, equity and belonging (DEIB).
Organizations, and specifically HR teams, need to see to regional legislation as the bare minimum, and always seek ways to exceed those requirements.
They can work ahead of the government when DEIB legislation is yet to be introduced – for instance, could companies in Brazil, China, India or the US strive towards pay equity even if they aren’t mandated to report their pay gap the government?
HR teams can make changes for their employees, and improve their working lives, much more quickly than every government.
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