Comparing Childcare Expenditures Across OECD Countries

The following chart shows public childcare and pre-primary education expenditure across a select few OECD countries:

Click to enlarge

Public spending on childcare in France, Sweden and the U.K. is in the 0.4% to 0.6% of the GDP which is double that spent by Greece and Korea. The U.S. spends relatively low on childcare than most European countries noted above.

The number of paid maternity leave for certain countries are:

France – 16.0 weeks
Sweden – 8.5 weeks
Greece – Over 43 weeks
UK -52 weeks
Ireland – 42 weeks
USA – No paid time-off for new mothers

According to a 2007 study by McGill University’s Institute for Health and Social Policy, the US is one of the five countries in the world that does not guarantee any paid leave for new mothers. The other four countries are the third-world countries of Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.

While most countries have paid paid sick days for short and long-term illnesses, under the Family and Medical Leave Act(FMLA) of 1993, U.S. workers are allowed to take up to 12 weeks leave for to tend to family or medical needs, but their absence is considered as unpaid leave.

The study also found that 137 countries require its employers to provide paid annual leave, whereas the Unites States does not guarantee any sort of paid leave.

Source: OECD Observer, 2Q, 2011

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