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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


A provision in nearly all modern nations, job-protected leave for parents is considered not only a right, but a necessary component of modern social policy. While 82 percent of Americans agree that mothers should receive paid parental leave and 69 percent agree that fathers should receive paid parental leave, the United States is one of only a handful of countries that does not have a federally mandated paid leave policy. As public opinion continues to shift in favor of such policies, international examples from different parts of the world can provide a model for a national policy for paid parental leave. As a tool to inform options for an American paid parental leave policy, this paper analyzes three nations – Canada, Sweden, and Germany. It examines their current policies, their path to paid parental leave, and the outcomes of those policies for mothers, fathers, and the workforce as a whole.

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