Who Gives Parents a Break? Here is yet another indicator that the U.S. lags behind most other countries in providing health care benefits.

The August 2007 issue of National Geographic Magazine ('Geography' section) suggests that American moms-to-be might consider a move to Slovenia. The article, written by Neil Shea, goes on to say,
While U.S. law guarantees a mere 12 weeks of unpaid leave under certain conditions, the least of any industrialized nation, the relatively poor central European country offers far more substantial benefits. Many nations give new mothers at least 14 weeks of leave from work around the time their child is born. Some 66 countries let dads take time off, too. The consensus is that bonding time with parents is good for a newborn's health and development. By that measure, places like Cuba, Uzbekistan, and South Korea earn high marks. And the U.S., says Jody Heymann, a social policy expert at McGill University, could definitely do better.
An accompanying map to the aforesaid article also indicates the following facts:

©National Geographic
World map indicating level of paid maternity leave for mothers and sometimes fathers by country.

-Russia & Slovenia give at least 52 weeks of leave and pay full wages.

-In Ota, Japan, male municipal workers who become fathers must take 40 days of paid leave.

-Employees of India's central government may take 135 days of maternity leave at full pay.

-The governments of Australia, Liberia, Papua, New Guinea, Swaziland and the United States provide some of the world's weakest leave benefits. Lucky dads are fortunate to get even a paid week off.