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06th May 2022

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

Ireland and the UK were ranked towards the bottom, while Bulgaria came out on top.

Ireland was ranked towards the bottom of a new study that evaluated the maternity leave packages of countries in Europe.

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

It revealed that Ireland was 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.

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 was not alone, however, as the UK was also ranked towards the bottom of the pile. There, as RTÉ reports, new mothers are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, but are entitled to 90% of their average weekly pay in the first 6 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.”

She 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 came 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.

Noway, which pays 80-100% of new mothers’ salaries for 49 weeks, also ranked highly on the list.