Given the current economic situation in the UK and the end of free movement between the UK and EU countries, many workers may be considering a more permanent career move and lifestyle change. Working as a digital nomad is increasing in popularity and is gradually becoming more and more accessible thanks to more hybrid working roles.
For expecting families, the decision to move for work is a little more difficult. Not only are there considerations for schooling and childcare, but also for parental leave policy and the practicalities of having a child as a working parent. The UK has been found to be somewhat lacking in this regard, but what countries offer a meaningful alternative?
Opinions on UK Parent-Friendliness
Indeed, a recent report undertaken by printing company instantprint found that the UK is not particularly well-regarded for its policy in relation to new and working parents. instantprint surveyed 2,000 UK adults for their views on parent policy, in particular statutory paternal and maternal leave. 31% of respondents described the UK’s maternal leave policy – 52 weeks, 39 of which are paid at less than full weekly wage – as ‘less than adequate’.
This is an astonishing statistic, that lays bare the UK’s stature amongst its own citizens – and one reinforced by the 47% of respondents that did not think the paternal leave policy was good enough. Respondents were less critical of the UK’s adoption leave policies though, despite their close similarity to maternity and paternity policy.
The Factors that Make a Parent-Friendly Country
If the UK is considered a relatively unfriendly place in which to raise a child as a working parent, what are the factors that make a country friendly to parents? The structure and form of maternity or paternity leave policy are of course a major factor, but not the only one. For example, the instantprint report also found that the vast majority of those surveyed would take a pay rise over increased leave, indicating that pay and living costs rank highly as considerations.
The Best Countries for Working Parents
instantprint’s report ranked countries on their approach to working parents, to find the best places for travelling would-be families to settle for the first years of their child’s life. What follows are the top three of these countries.
Sweden wins overall thanks to its low childcare and rental costs. Parental leave is shared, with 240 days per parent to be distributed as they see fit.
Bulgaria is ranked second, in part due to a significantly lower cost of living but also due to an extremely generous form of parental leave – 60 weeks for maternity and up to 104 weeks of shared leave.
Hungary ranks third, both due to cheaper living costs and its parental leave scheme – which sees maternity leave topped up with paid shared leave.
In conclusion, these are the best countries for working parents that are making strides in supporting working parents with generous parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and family-friendly policies. Whether you’re planning to start a family or are already a working parent, considering these top countries can help you make a well-informed decision about where to live and work. So, if you’re looking for the best countries for working parents, be sure to explore these nations that prioritize work-life balance for families.
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