Women and Work – Resources

Women and Work

Women and Work Task Force Brochure



Maternity Protection

Maternity Protection Coalition Brochure 


Maternity Protection Chart

This document is developed by the WABA Women & Work Task Force as part of the Maternity Protection Campaign to support women’s right to breastfeed and work, by advocating for implementation and monitoring of improved maternity protection entitlements. The information for the chart is updated every two years. Sources of information are obtained from WABA’s network partners, ILO reports and databases.

This comprehensive chart can be used as a guide to compare the maternity benefits among countries. This chart also serves as an advocacy tool when lobbying for better maternity benefits (e.g. maternity/paternity leave, breastfeeding breaks etc) in all levels ranging from community to national level.

Most countries in the world provide for maternity protection legislation in one form or another. While the immense majority of nations do propose specifically termed “maternity protection” laws, some others, such as Switzerland for example, do not. In such cases however, either the national labour code, or the health insurance regulation, or the civil code, or even other areas – or all of these together – contain protective legislation for working mothers-to-be and new mothers. When examining the situation in your country it is important to take this into consideration.

Again, the vast majority of countries provide for paid maternity leave. Paid leave may be as short as 8 weeks and only for mothers, as in Lebanon or Mozambique, but at the other extreme, it may cover both parents for a number of months as in Sweden. It is interesting to note that many countries in Asia and the Middle East remain in the lower brackets, offering in general less than 12 weeks paid leave; Latin American countries average closer to the 12-week range; though a number of African countries offer less than 12 weeks, many others allow 12 to 14 weeks break for their female employees. The European countries provide the longest – 14, 15 and 16 weeks and more – paid leave. Australia will begin a national paid leave plan in 2011.

Status of Maternity Protection by Country

  • 2015 ( pdf, 100 kb )
  • 2013 ( pdf, 99 kb )
  • 2011( pdf, 94 kb )


Maternity Protection (MP) Campaign Kit

The Maternity Protection (MP) Campaign Kit was published in 2003 by the MPC. The kit serves as a useful tool for organising and implementing successful MP campaigns. This action kit aims to update breastfeeding advocates with the basic information about maternity protection, international law and the ILO, as well provide tips for successful campaigning. It also provides detailed information on breastfeeding and breastfeeding-related issues to the trade unions, government and employers. The goal of this MPC Campaign Kit is to help combine breastfeeding advocacy with advocacy for maternity protection. Breastfeeding advocacy has primarily come from the health and consumer communities, while maternity protection has been an issue more for the economic and labour sectors, especially the trade unions. The adoption in 2000 of new ILO Maternity Protection instruments, Convention 183 and Recommendation 191, and the adoption in 2002 of the WHO/UNICEF Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding give activists new reasons to plan joint actions and to assure a place for breastfeeding on the maternity protection agenda. The kit is currently available in Arabic, Bulgarian, English, French and Spanish.

Read this kit online by clicking the title of the sections below.