Maternity, paternity and parental leave? Here a focus on 7 European countries, their family policies and child support.

How do family policies change through Europe? Who is entitled to them and for how long? Find out which countries are the best parental leave payers. Here we compare Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Iceland, Belgium and Norway in a comprehensive overview of what local rules are and how they differ in our elderly dear Europe.

First and foremost, let make clear the topic: if you are a worker, you are more than likely entitled to claim a period of absence from work, before and/or after your child’s birth.

Whereas the USA still do not prescribe payments for parental leaves, the majority of the other nations includes a paid period of time off work to rest and look after the newborn.

Mothers and fathers may request an employment-protected leave of absence that employed and self-employed receive during pregnancy, after giving birth or adoption in some countries.

In addition to these, each country has its own child allowance or child-care benefit, that is a support for families or single persons who have a child or more than one. Please note that besides family leave, child benefits are different supports and, in some cases, they are paid regardless of your wage or your children’s  nationality. In this article, we try to compare how families grow in 7 different European countries. Let’s start with the family leave allowances!

Family leave policies

Maternity leave has represented a practice as early as the 1800s and covered a minimum of 14 weeks of leave in Europe, paid at an average of two-thirds of the worker’s salary. Today, more than 50 countries in the world offer six months or more of paid maternity leave, with many even offering paid paternity leave for 14 weeks or more.

In the most recent decades, a new formula has come out: the parental leave. It is a period which can be taken by either the parents, before and after the birth, to help a couple share efforts and responsibilities.It was created in the Scandinavian countries and it is greatly spreading all over other countries.

Depending on the State, it is more or less extended: in our case, it goes from 59 weeks in Norway to 10 months in Italy or 26 times your weekly working hours in the Netherlands. Since each country maintains different rules and amount of money destined for this special benefit, we suggest you have a look at each official website for specific info.

All around the world, the current family leave policies change depending on the State Law.

In the chart, a brief summary of maternity and paternity leave counted in weeks. Note that Italy and the Netherlands allow fathers a paternity leave of only 2 days, even mandatory, while Germany and Austria none.

In all of these countries, women and men must have worked and paid social security contributions for a certain period to become eligible for the maternity allowance. Sometimes working periods abroad may be counted as well.

Parental Leave Data in 7 European countries

How much money is your country going to spend on your parental leave?

Usually, these allowances are based on the previous employment or in some cases on social security contributions and they are typically paid by the public health insurance funds.

In many EU member states, it is 100% of the salary.

In the Netherlands (100% of the salary) it is paid by employers who later receive a refund from the state funds.

In Italy, the 80% of your salary by the employer, and also through public health insurance or private funds of professional associations.

In Norway it is 100% or 80% of your previous salary depending on the duration of the parental benefit.

Iceland pays 80% of the previous salary to both the parents for at least 12 weeks.

Mothers in Austria and Germany receive full salaries for a limited time of 14 weeks, whereas in Belgium they receive 80% of the previous wage for 70 days.

It must be noted that the percentage decreases in certain cases after the compulsory period.

Child benefit

Not less important, these seven governments allows every family or single parent to leverage from special support fund.

The child benefit, also named child allowance or child support, varies widely from country to country, depending on the support type, the marital status, the number of children and they age.

For example, if you financially support two children and you work in the Netherlands, you can have a support from the Dutch government, the Kindgebonden Budget, that is €2040 per year! Plus, you may claim another allowance, the Kinderbijslag, that goes from €201 up to €287 every 4 months, depending on your child’s age.

Here we resume the minimum sum you may claim for each of our focus countries: the amount of money given monthly and for a single child from 0 to 3 years old. Have a look at the small table here below. You can click on the country you are living and calculate for FREE how much money you can have for your children.  


Child benefit amount (€)















As said before, the sum differs based on multiple factors: your child’s age, your child care expenditure, your family status… Wrapping all these info in just few lines would not be enough! If you are a parent abroad, the likelihood to receive a certain amount of money for your children is extremely high, but lots of expats forget to claim their fair money! Dendax may assist you in preparing and presenting your child benefit application. We will calculate how much money you are allowed to ask for, even if you didn’t apply in the previous years! Have a look at our "Social Insurance and Child Benefit" section and calculate for FREE your refund! It's easy, fast and tested!