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Maternity Leaves Around The World: Worst And Best Countries For Paid Maternity Leave (PHOTOS)

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When it comes to the world's maternity leaves report card, not all countries are passing with flying colours.

In a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the majority of the United States (excluding two states) received a failing grade in providing women and new mothers support entering motherhood.

In at least 178 countries around the world, paid leave is guaranteed for working moms, while more than 50 countries provide wage benefits for fathers, according to the ILO. The United States, along with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia and Lesotho are some of the only countries in the world that provide no type of financial support for mothers, according to a study done by McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy.

Maternity leaves aren't simply a matter of time off for childcare -- they can also strongly impact the rest of a child's life. According to a report by non-governmental organization Save The Children, in countries with longer periods of parental leave, children were found to be breastfed for longer and their life expectancy was higher.

The group looked at the top developed countries that are succeeding in maternity leave benefits, and which ones continue to lag behind. The country with the longest paid leave topped out at 420 days, while the length of time for countries with the lowest paid and unpaid leaves was around 12 weeks.

Here are the maternity leave benefits for 43 developed countries in 2011, from shortest to longest periods of time. Are you surprised by the findings?

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Maternity Leaves From Around The World
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United States:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 12 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: No national program but cash benefits may be provided at the state level.

Iceland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 3 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Germany:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Japan:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 67

Malta:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

New Zealand:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks Paid, 38 Weeks Unpaid
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Switzerland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Belgium:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 15 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 82 per cent for the first 30 days and 75 per cent for the remaining period.

Finland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 105 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 70

Slovenia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 105 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Austria:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

France:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Latvia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 112 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Luxembourg:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Netherlands:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Spain:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Greece:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 119 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 50

Australia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 18 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Each parent can take up to 12 months of leave, of which 18 weeks are paid.

Lithuania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Belarus:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Moldova:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Ukraine:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Romania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 85

Portugal:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 120 to 150 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Parental benefits paid at 100 per cent for the shorter duration of leave and 80 per cent for the longer option.

Estonia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 140 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Poland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 20 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Russia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 140 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Italy:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 5 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Bulgaria:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 135 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid:90

Hungary:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 24 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 70

Ireland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 26 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Czech Republic:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 28 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 60

Slovakia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 28 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 55

Macedonia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 9 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Not found.

Norway:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 36 to 46 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Parental benefits paid at 100 per cent for the shorter duration of leave and 80 per cent for the longer option.

Albania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 365 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80 per cent prior to birth and for 150 days after and 50 per cent for the rest of the leave period.

Bosnia And Herzegovina:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 1 Year
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 82 per cent for the first 30 days and 75 per cent for the remaining period.

Canada:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 55 per cent at 17 weeks for maternity leave, and the additional 35 weeks can be taken by either parent. Wages also depend on province.

Croatia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 1 Year
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Denmark:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Serbia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

United Kingdom:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 90

Sweden:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 420 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

CORRECTION: This story previously stated New Zealand had 14 weeks maternity leave. In fact, New Zealand offers parents 14 weeks of parental leave with 100 per cent of wages paid, and a further 38 weeks of unpaid leave.

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