International payroll: paternity leave across the world

paternity leave
By Anthony Wolny | 15th December 2020 | 14 min read

Managing an international payroll requires you to be on top of a wide array of legislation, including paternity leave.

However, it can often cause concern for global businesses as paternity leave varies drastically, with some countries offering incredibly generous support while others provide none.

We’ve compiled the policies from a range of countries to offer insights into the differences you need to be prepared for, helping ensure a successful expansion abroad.


Next summer, paternity leave is due to be raised in France, doubling from 14 to 28 days, following an announcement from the President Emmanuel Macron.

The first three days of paternity leave are to be paid by the employer with the state covering the remainder.

Businesses that do not comply with the new ruling will face fines of up to €7,500.


Often regarded as one of the most progressive policies in the world, Sweden allows parents of both sexes to share 480 days (16 months) of paid paternity at 80% of their salary up to a cap.

Out of the 480 days, each parent has an exclusive right to 90 of those days, and the remainder can be split either way.

Employers are not expected to cover the cost of paternity leave benefits as the Swedish Social Insurance Administration provides the funds.


As of 1 January 2020, paternity leave in Spain changed from eight to 12 weeks and will once again increase to 16 weeks in 2021.

Currently, the first four weeks must be uninterrupted during the leave and after that, the remaining eight weeks can be either continuous or split across the child’s first year.

During paternity leave in Spain, social security replaces 100% of the employee’s previous wage up to a cap of €4,070.


At the beginning of the year, Finland announced plans to give all parents the same parental leave, in an attempt to provide fathers more time with their children.

However, the current paternity leave provides 54 working days, paid at 70% of their typical wage, and it must be taken before the child reaches the age of two.


In Italy, the paternity leave offering is far less generous than the above, providing only seven days at full pay, which must be claimed within five months of the child’s birth.

United States

Within the US, there is currently no legislation in place that provides any sort of parental leave, including maternity, paternity or shared.

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 does provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to birth and care for the child, it only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. 

How can IRIS support?

We’ve highlighted some of the best and worst policies across the globe, showcasing how varied paternity leave can be and also the frequency in which it changes.

As many more countries across the world take similar steps to France and Finland, you can expect frequent changes in the near future.

That’s why IRIS is here to help, offering a full-proof international payroll outsourcing service that can manage all aspects of your payroll, including paternity leave.

Utilising our team of country-specific experts, we ensure your payroll is compliant and correct with every change across the globe.

For more information and to request your personalised quote, click here.