Paid parental leave in Malta has been ranked as the ninth-worst globally in a new index published by job-seeking website Lensa.

The data was extracted from a parental leave database kept by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with the publication ranking each country based on the number of weeks of leave at full pay offered to parents.

Malta was ranked ninth-worst among those countries, having the equivalent of 15 weeks of paid leave available to parents.

According to the ranking, Maltese mothers are entitled to 18 weeks of paid leave at 85.6 per cent of their average salary, which is the equivalent of 15.4 weeks at full pay.

Maltese fathers, on the other hand, are only offered one day of leave paid in full on the occasion of the birth of their child.

The two regimes combined mean that parents here are entitled to 15.6 weeks at full pay.

The Maltese law also allows both parents to take leave of absence for up to four months at any time until their child turns eight years old, although this is unpaid.

Which countries are worst? 

Ireland was ranked as the country with the worst parental leave available, with only 8.1 weeks of leave paid at full rate available to Irish parents.

Ireland was followed by Switzerland, at 8.2 weeks, Australia, 8.4 weeks, New Zealand, 10.4 weeks, the UK, 12 weeks, Mexico, 13 weeks, Cyprus, 14.4 weeks, and Israel with 15 weeks of leave at full rate pay offered to parents.

Of the top 10 worst-rated countries for parental leave, three ‒ Switzerland, New Zealand and Israel ‒ offer no paid leave for fathers at all.

Romania topped the list of countries offering the best paid parental leave, with parents being entitled to 97.1 weeks of leave at full-rate pay.

In the upper part of the list, Romania was followed by Estonia, with 84 weeks, Bulgaria, 69.4 weeks, Slovakia, 69.2 weeks, and Japan, with 67.2 weeks of leave at full rate.

Lensa’s analysis found that, due to not all of its states offering paid leave programmes or legislation, the United States was the only country that officially does not offer any paid leave to parents.

Of the list of 43 countries, only eight offered full paid maternity leave, while six extended full pay for both mothers and fathers.

OECD countries offer paid leave amounting to 60.2 weeks to mothers and 8.7 weeks to fathers, on average, while EU countries were found to offer an average of 70.6 weeks to mothers and 7.1 weeks to fathers respectively, the study noted.

In 2019, an EU directive that was spearheaded by MEP David Casa, increased paternity leave for fathers by up to 10 days.

However, this directive has yet to be implemented as local law, with member states having until August of this year to adopt the directive into their legislation.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us