Women and Work
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
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.
- Table of Contents and List of important abbreviations related to breastfeeding work and advocacy
- 1) Introduction: Women, Work and Breastfeeding : This topic gives the general introduction and description to the issues of breastfeeding, work, ILO and also the kit.
- 2) Key Elements of Maternity Protection at Work : This topic covers Key Elements of Maternity Protection at Work with Special Reference to ILO Convention 183 and Recommendation 191. The seven key elements to maternity protection—scope, leave, benefits, health protection, job protection and nondiscrimination, breastfeeding breaks and breastfeeding facilities—are elaborated and explained.
- 3) Intervention Instruments and Levels for Maternity Protection at Work : This section looks at several different levels of intervention – the global, the regional, the national and the local level to help see where each respective campaign fits into the bigger picture.
- 4) ILO and the Ratification Process: This topic explains how the ILO functions and its ratification process.
- 5) Breastfeeding: the Heart of our Matter : This chapter gives a list as well as explanation of several tools that can be used to inform the stakeholders and thus assist in the re-building of community knowledge about the real lives and needs of breastfeeding women at work.
- 6a) Organising a Maternity Protection Campaign : This chapter gives a sample plan for a maternity protection campaign. It is divided into nine steps and the materials in this section are based largely on the experiences of IBFAN groups in Africa, which held training and planning sessions on Maternity Protection in 2001 and 2002.
- 6b) Campaign Tools for a Successful Maternity Protection Campaign : This chapter complements the previous one and illustrates seven campaign tools that can be used such as rapid assessment, survey, data collection, networking etc.
- 7) Show-casing Imaginative Legislation : This section covers some selected examples to show how countries (Sudan, Bangladesh, Australia, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Belgium) are dealing imaginatively through legislation with various contentious aspects of maternity protection at the workplace.
- 8) Showcasing Creative Workplace Solutions : This section covers some examples (Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Philippines) of how improved maternity protection conditions can be created through workplace policies.
- 9) How to Support Women in the Informal Economy to Combine Their Productive and Reproductive Roles : This module aims to deepen the understanding and explore some of the imaginative schemes that have been put in place in order to improve the work protection of informal sector workers. Ideas for potential solutions for varying context may help informal workers to balance their productive and reproductive responsibilities.
- 10) Who Takes Care of the Baby : This chapter provides some successful child care arrangement case studies that helped working mothers to reconcile their work with breastfeeding, childrearing functions and responsibilities.
- 11) Resources : The list of resources include selected bibliography, audio visual aids, periodicals and directory of key contacts.
- 12) Tools for Action : A list of relevant tools for action developed by International Agencies.
- Breastfeeding and the workplace: This sheet was developed for the information of trade unions, employers and governments as part of the Maternity Protection Campaign. It contains all the pertinent points on the importance of breastfeeding to the employer, society and individual. The explanation is succinct and helps strengthen the justification to support working women to breastfeed.
- World Health Assembly Decisions On Infant & Young Child Feeding
- Beijing Platform For Action, 1995. Strategic Objectives and Actions on Health, Violence against Women and Economy
- Costs & Benefits of Protecting Breastfeeding
- The Evidence for Maternity Protection—Research Brief by Miriam Labbok
- BREASTFEEDING AS (CARE) WORK…..It needs to be counted as paid work!
- Maternity Protection at the Workplace
- Maternity and Paternity at Work Law & Practice Around the World A Summary of ILO Policy Brief-2014