Another for the “Why do I live in America?” file:

As reported on the Strollerderby blog:
•    In Norway, parental leave allowance is 54 weeks at 80% pay or 44 weeks at 100% to be shared any way the parents wish, although the mother must take three weeks before birth and six weeks immediately after and the father must take five weeks off if they intend to use any leave (yes, must, not “if they have a sympathetic boss and can afford to, maybe”). Adoptive parents are eligible for 51 weeks off at 80% pay or 41 weeks at 100%.

•    In Greece, either parent can use up to 17 months of leave time, and receive an additional hour off per day until the child is 30 months old, or two hours per day for 12 months and one hour per day for the next six months.

•    In Belgium, free early childhood education is available to all children starting at the age of 2 1/2.

I WEEP.

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2 Responses to Another for the “Why do I live in America?” file:

  1. Weep not.

    Mandated maternity leave comes at a cost.

    Norway has nationalized health care which takes 7.8% of workers wages. The maximum marginal tax rate is 52.2%

    Norway’s historically low unemployment >3% meands strong labor organizations and higher consumer costs.

    All such indicators are important part of the balance for working moms.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I see Neil’s point that there are probably other factors involved, but it also seems like we just don’t take time off in America. Re: vacation time- even if people HAVE it, sometimes they are unable to actually USE it. Sad and not healthy.

    When we took a two week vacation a couple of years ago (big deal for both of us to take 2 weeks!!!) it seemed a ridiculously short time comapared to Europeans we met traveling. They would say things like, “We are not here very long… only 4-5 weeks…”

    Kind of makes you wonder why we keep living here, doesn’t it? The Western way of doing things has benefits but pitfalls too.

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