Against many cultural biases, men from 70 countries around the world now get paid paternity leave following the birth of a child.
Top among the countries favourably disposed to the idea of paid paternity leave are South Korea, Japan, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom
According to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), paternity leave has positive effects on the child’s development and helps break down traditional social attitudes.
This report was said to have inspired Richard Branson, the Virgin boss, to recently announce that his company was offering new fathers up to 12 months’ leave on full pay.
In its August report on global gender parity, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an arm of the World Economic Forum (WEF), examined the 70 countries with paternity leave, but none of the 70 countries is African.
According to the OECD report, Sweden, in 1974, was the first country to introduce gender-neutral parental leave and the first to implement “daddy leave” – a non-transferable parental leave reserved exclusively for fathers.
In Sweden, almost 90% of men take paternity leave, and in 2012 Swedish dads took almost a quarter of the total leave offered to parents.
In contrast, fewer than 2% of fathers in Japan and South Korea take paternity leave, despite the accompanying paid allowances.
Spain, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Chile, Hungary, Mexico, Romania, Greece, Malta, Italy are the only countries in the world giving full pay to men on paternity leave, the report confirmed.