Parental leave: the Quebec model voted best in the world

Quebecers have something to celebrate! And for good reason: the system of parental leave is cited as a model by an independent American political research institute which calls for similar measures to be adopted south of the border.


According to the Center for American Progress, the Quebec system relating to parental leave is a global benchmark. The fact that La Belle Province has a policy on the subject is already a great step forward in itself compared to practices in the United States. Another positive aspect the American centre reports: parental leave can be taken by both Quebec women and men. This neutral family policy allows women to avoid being harmed in their career development.


Women penalized in some countries

The American researchers noted that some family policies intending to promote part-time work for women or to benefit from substantial income during their maternity leave tends to hinder their career’s progress. Although illegal, some employers tend to hire fewer women due to the costs incurred by a maternity leave. In Chili, where companies must provide a daycare service for mothers, women receive lower wages.


Neutral parental leave acclaimed

On the other hand, the fact that parental leave is neutral would enable arrival of a child to no longer be associated only with women but with the entire active population. This allows parental leave to be less only a woman’s matter and to reduce the negative repercussions on women’s careers. In addition, the American centre notes that when men benefit from paid parental leave with interesting compensation into the bargain, they don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. On the other hand, in the United States for example, where paternity leave is rarely paid, men don’t take more than two weeks. Only the states of California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have a neutral parental policy, which nonetheless is less interesting that the Quebec parental assurance plan (RQAP) adopted by the Jean Charest government in 2006.


Promote equality of the sexes

Some countries, such as the Czech Republic offers long maternity leaves and conversely no paternity leave. The hidden reason behind this parental policy that only addresses women is to increase the birthrate among Czechs. Yet one does not exclude the other, according to the American institute, which continues to take as an example what is implemented in Quebec. While the introduction of the RQAP was motivated by the desire to promote equality of the sexes, the significant increase in the number of births in Quebec in the three years following adoption of this new program can be noted.

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