If you guessed ‘the UK’, you have two options:
1) Give yourself a well-earned pat on the back with a look of accomplishment; or
2) Start researching other ways of sourcing income if you are concerned that the statutory maternity pay (SMP) you/your wife/etc. will receive may not suffice (that is, of course, if you live in the UK….).
In all seriousness, after a recent survey conducted by the Trade Union Congress (TUC), it transpires that the UK is near the bottom of the European league for paid maternity leave.
Whilst the UK offers up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, only 39 weeks of it attracts SMP. For the first 6 weeks after birth, women in the UK receive 90% of their previous pay. This drops to £138.58 (now risen to £140.98) a week (or continues at 90% if that is lower) for the next 33 weeks.
The TUC defines ‘decently paid’ maternity pay as at least two-thirds of a woman’s salary or more than £840 a month. With this in mind, mothers in the UK only receive 6 weeks’ decently paid maternity leave compared to:
- Croatia – 6 months
- Poland / Hungary – more than 4 months
- France / Belgium / Malta – more than 3 months