Bulgaria offers best paid maternity package

Bulgaria offers Europe’s best paid maternity package that includes a minimum of 58.6 weeks off, according to analysis by global employment platform Boundless.

Its league table, which analysed how individual countries compensate women as they become new mothers, assessed each European country based on the length of full maternity pay it offers to employees Bulgaria’s National Health Insurance Fund pays 90% of a new mother’s full salary during leave with a social security cap of €1,700 (£1,457). In comparion, in the UK new mothers are entitled to just 90% of their average weekly pay for the first six weeks.

The findings also demonstrated Norway pays mothers 80-100% of their full salary for at least 49 weeks, Sweden pays 80% of an employee’s full salary for 34 weeks and Finland pays 90% for 29 weeks. Meanwhile, Irish mothers get 42 weeks of maternity leave with €245 (£210) paid weekly for the first 26 weeks.

The top 10 European nations for paid maternity provision are:

  • Bulgaria
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Slovakia
  • Iceland
  • Estonia
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic.

Dee Coakley, chief executive and co-founder of Boundless, explained that the league table shows the need for the UK and Ireland to level up by increasing their basic rates, but there is also work that can be done at an employer level too, such as offering enhanced leave and pay.

“In the UK, for example, some offer full pay for 16-35 weeks irrespective of gender, they cover breastfeeding support and they provide three months’ paid paternity leave. Other businesses should try to adjust to allow long leaves. What’s more, employers can offer flexible benefits to help parents adapt to their new lives. These include things like childcare vouchers, a cleaning service, a meal subscription and parental coaching,” she said.