The table below reveals public spending on family benefits by percentage of GDP and orders it from highest to lowest (rounded to two decimal points). The OECD defines family benefits as public spending on the financial support of parents. This includes publicly funded child-related cash transfers or baby bonuses, public income support payments during parental leave and public spending on family-related services such as childcare.
The table below represents the total length of time in weeks for which paid leave is made available to mothers, which could incorporate varied rates of pay (blue series) in comparison with the number of equivalent weeks at the full rate of pay (yellow series). The full-rate equivalent figures show the average payment rate available across the paid leave period for a mother on 100 per cent of national average earnings. As shown in the data, Estonia has the most generous entitlements, with 166 weeks of paid leave available.
This list is exclusive of any state or organisation-based parental leave programs a country might have. Where a parental leave period is longer than the full-rate pay period, other payments may or may not be received.
OECD data has revealed that economically speaking, Australia is not at the top of the world’s leaderboard for parental benefits.
As far as monetary benefits, Australia ranks 35th in the list of OECD countries,¹ which could be thanks to the government’s Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement. Eligible parents will receive either $570 AUD ($440 USD^) per child upfront or a 13-week payment plan to a total of $1,709.89 ($1,321 USD^). For any further children, the maximum total amount is $570.57 ($441 USD^) for the period.15
National parental paid leave policies placed Australia 33rd out of 36 countries.⁶ The current rate of Parental Leave Pay in Australia is $150.78 ($117 USD^) a day before tax for up to 12 weeks, which is the same for everyone, regardless of salary.16
Finally, when it comes to retirement savings, a 2018 study by Rest found that women save, on average, $159,590 ($123,328 USD^) less than men for retirement due to career breaks, such as parental leave.17 This is because the paid parental leave scheme in Australia does not attract a superannuation guarantee, meaning it’s not compulsory for employers to pay super while parents are on paid parental leave.18
*All currency conversions completed on 1/06/21 using Xe Currency Converter.
^All currency conversions completed on 10/06/21 using Xe Currency Converter.
1OECD 2021 – Family benefits public spending (indicator). doi: 10.1787/8e8b3273-en – Accessed 21/05/21
2Life in Denmark 2021 – ‘Child and Youth Benefits’ – Accessed 23/05/2021
3Life in Denmark 2021 – ‘Child Allowance’ – Accessed 23/05/2021
4European Commission 2021 – ‘Sweden – Child allowance- Accessed 25/05/2021
5Editus Luxembourg 2021 – ‘All about family benefits in Luxembourg’ – Accessed 01/06/2021
6OECD 2018 – PF2.1. Parental leave systems – Accessed 23/05/21
7Republic of Estonia Social Insurance Board 2021 – ‘Kinds of family allowances’ -– Accessed 01/06/2021
82021 Globilization Partners – ‘Hungary – Employer of Record’ – Accessed 01/06/2021
9Renkuosi Lietuva 2021 – ‘Child Benefits’ – Accessed 01/06/2021
10GOV.UK 2021 – ‘Workplace Pensions’ – Accessed 27/05/2021
11U.S. Department of the Interior 2021 – ‘Benefits’ – Accessed 28/05/2021
12Leave Network 2020 – ‘Sweden’ – Accessed 28/05/2021
13OECD 2019 – ‘Pensions at a Glance 2019 How does AUSTRALIA compare?’ – Accessed 28/05/21
14OECD 2019 – ‘Pensions at a Glance 2019 How does CANADA compare?’ – Accessed 28/05/21
15Services Australia 2021 – ‘Newborn Upfront Payment and Newborn Supplement’ – Accessed 28/05/2021
16Services Australia 2021 – ‘Providing Parental Leave Pay’ – Accessed 28/05/2021
17Rest 2021 – ‘Super and having a baby’ – Accessed 28/05/2021
18Women in Super 2021 – ‘WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO RECEIVE SUPER WHILE ON PARENTAL LEAVE’ – Accessed 28/05/2021