Ireland ranked one of the worst countries in Europe for paid maternity leave 1 month ago

Ireland ranked one of the worst countries in Europe for paid maternity leave

Ireland and the UK rank towards the bottom, while Bulgaria comes out on top.

Ireland ranks towards the bottom of a new study that evaluated the maternity leave packages of countries across Europe.

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The study comes courtesy of Boundless, which is a global employment platform.

It revealed that Ireland is among the worst in providing compensation to women becoming mothers.

As outlined by Citizens Information, Irish employees are entitled to take 26 weeks of maternity leave, though they may take an additional 16 weeks.

Two weeks of this leave must be taken before the baby is due, and four weeks of it must be taken afterwards.

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Those who have enough PRSI contributions are able to take the Maternity Benefit for the 26 weeks of maternity leave. The standard payment for this is €250 per week.

Ireland is not alone, however, as the UK also ranks towards the bottom of the pile. There, as RTÉ News reports, new mothers are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, but are entitled to 90% of their average weekly pay in the first six weeks.

Speaking on the study's findings, Boundless co-founder and CEO Dee Coakley said that it is clear Ireland needs to level up.

She said: "Our league table clearly shows the disparities in maternity leave across Europe and the need for the UK and Ireland to level up by increasing their basic rates."

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Coakley added that there is "work that can be done at an employer level too and that’s giving extended leave and pay".

In terms of the upper end of the ranking, Bulgaria comes out on top. In the Balkan nation, new mothers can take a minimum of 58.6 weeks off and receive 90% of their salary while they are on leave.

Norway, which pays 80-100% of new mothers' salaries for 49 weeks, also ranked high on the list.