Feb 28, 2023 - Economy

Majority of countries guarantee paid paternity leave — but not the U.S.

Countries with male-accessible paternity or parental leave, 2022
Data: World Policy Analysis Center; Chart: Alice Feng/Axios

Sixty-three percent of countries around the world provide guaranteed paid parental leave for fathers, according to a report out Tuesday morning from the World Policy Analysis Center.

Why it matters: Though support is growing for paternity leave, there's still a stigma attached to men who take time off to care for their children. Yet, studies find numerous benefits for the economy, for fathers, and for their partners.

  • "There is widespread recognition that we don't solve gender equality without dads getting leave," says Jody Heymann, founding director of the policy center and a UCLA distinguished professor of public health and public affairs.

The big picture: Back in the 1990s, only 46 countries had a paid leave policy for fathers, largely high-income nations, per the policy center's data. Now the number is nearly three times as high.

  • Conspicuously absent from the list: The U.S.

Worth noting: The U.S. is also one of just seven countries in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave.

  • The other countries are the small island nations Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga.

Go deeper: Listen to the Axios Today podcast, where host Niala Boodhoo and Erica Pandey talk about how accessible paternity leave is for men in the U.S.

Go deeper