Hopes of mandating paid family days may lose to recession

A country for example may have a long maternity leave but a short (or non existent) parental or family leave, or vice-versa.

In the European Union, each country has its own policies, which vary significantly, but all the EU members must abide by the minimum standards of the Pregnant Workers Directive and Parental Leave Directive.

In some countries and jurisdictions, "family leave" also includes leave provided to care for ill family members.

Often, the minimum benefits and eligibility requirements are stipulated by law.

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The term "parental leave" may include maternity, paternity, and adoption leave; or may be used distinctively from "maternity leave" and "paternity leave" to describe separate family leave available to either parent to care for small children.

Criticism is often less concerned about the idea of paternity leave itself, but condemns the fact that father's quota policies do not allow that time to be allocated to the mother instead.

Critics argue that the quota harms mothers, depriving them of much needed leave, trivializes biological realities, and is an example of discrimination against mothers. Comparison between countries in term of employee benefits to leave for parents are often attempted, but these are very difficult to make, because of the complexity of types of leave available and because terms such as maternity leave, paternity leave, pre-natal leave, post-natal leave, parental leave, family leave and home-care leave, have different meanings in different jurisdictions. Comparing the length of maternity leave (which is common in international rankings) may say very little about the situation of a family in a specific country.

Given the high rates of women's participation in the formal labor force in many parts of the world, there is increasing interest among social scientists and policymakers in supporting a more equal division of labor between partners.The three most common models of funding are social insurance/social security (where employees, employers, or taxpayers in general contribute to a specific public fund), employer liability (where the employer must pay the employee for the length of leave), and mixed policies that combine both social security and employer liability.Parental leave has been available as a legal right and/or governmental program for many years, in one form or another.If women take long parental leaves, the neoclassical model would predict that their lifetime earnings and opportunities for promotion will be less than their male or childfree counterparts, or the "motherhood penalty." In Denmark, the public sector is "family-friendly" because of its generous leave and employee benefits; workers decide which sector to work on based on their preferences and opportunities.The study found that while in the "family-friendly" sector, there was basically no wage loss related to taking parental leave, women did have consistent earnings loss in the "non-family-friendly" private sector for one year's leave.

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Datta Gupta, Smith, & Verneer found in 2008 that, while publicly funded parental leave has benefits, it is very expensive to fund and question if it is the most cost-effective use of funds.

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