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From America to Asia, in LatinAmerican Post we make a tour of the differences that exist regarding this practice. Latin America is in debt

This is the scenario of maternity leave in the world

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), through the Convention on the protection of maternity number 183 (year 2000), the maternity leave should have 14 weeks (98 days) for a woman who gives birth.

Leer en español: Descubre cuánto dura la licencia de maternidad en tu país

In addition, this organization indicates that maternity leave should not be a motive for dismissal, "except for reasons that are not related to pregnancy, the birth of the child, and its consequences or breastfeeding". Additionally, every woman on leave will have a salary that is not less than two thirds of the salary with which she left to take care of her baby.

However, in some parts of the world, this is still a utopia.

Maternity licenses in the world

ILO has been in charge of developing an explanatory map that collects the situation that countries are living throughout the planet, in relation to the rights of mothers. In this graph, it can be observed that Africa and Asia are the territories that suffer the most inequality in this aspect.

For example, in nations such as Namibia and Zambia, on the African continent, only 84 days of leave are offered; that is, 12 weeks, two less than those indicated by ILO. On the other hand, Asia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq offer between 70 (10 weeks) and 62 days (almost 9 weeks), respectively.

Now, on the opposite side are the European countries. In this part of the planet is where new mothers enjoy more time to be next to their children.

Croatia is the country that offers more days - not only in Europe, but in the world - with 410 days. This means a little more than 58 weeks or, which is the same, one year and almost two months. Croatia is followed by others like

  • United Kingdom with 365 days (52 weeks)
  • Sweden with 240 days (34 weeks)
  • France and Spain with 112 days (16 weeks)

However, there are not many territories that comply with the standards set by ILO. BBC reported that only 34 of the 193 countries recognized by the United Nations (UN) offer at least 98 days of license. That is, "around 830 million" of women see this right violated, said the British media.

Also read: Paternity leave, a geographical issue

Latin America: region of highs and lows

In Latin America, the numbers show some fluctuation between their countries. For 2015, according to ILO chart, of the 13 nations that are part of South America, only three respected the 14 weeks established by the ILO: Brazil, Chile, and Colombia ; the first with 120 days (17 weeks), the second with 126 days (18 weeks, 22 if the baby is born at 33 weeks or weighs less than 1500 grams, as indicated in the Chilean Legislation); while the third had the minimum 14 weeks of the ILO.

However, the website of this organization does not take into account the new laws of countries such as Peru (98 days, according to the newspaper El Comercio), or those of Colombia which added 4 weeks (18) to their pro-maternity legislation.

In countries like Mexico and the United States, although the latter is not considered Latin, they only offer 84 days of leave (12 weeks).

However, it is strange that ILO has excluded from its map Venezuela. In this country, there are granted 182 days (26 weeks) and it is the most extensive in South America. In addition, BBC ensures that Venezuelan mothers enjoy 100% of their salary during the full license.

In the Caribbean and Central America, the situation is a bit more complicated, since only Cuba, Costa Rica, and Panama adopted the measure set out by ILO. Cuba provides 126 days (18 weeks, 26 days pregnancy is multiple).

"In general, in the Caribbean, the licenses for mothers do not exceed 13 weeks and the proportion of the salary they cover is variable," the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said in a bulletin launched together with UNICEF.

Likewise, the Social Affairs Officer of the Social Development Division of ECLAC, María Nieves Rico, and the Researcher of the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) of Argentina, Laura Pautassi, authors of 'Licenses for childcare, fathers and mothers', declared that "it is necessary for the State to maximize scarce existing resources, increase social spending in early childhood from birth and act as a provider and guarantor of the quality of care".

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez
Translated from “Así está el panorama de la licencia de maternidad en el mundo”

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