Lengthy maternity leave 'harms women's career prospects'

2009-12-02 Daily Telegraph

A report, from the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm, Sweden, shows countries with generous maternity-leave legislation have fewer women in managerial roles than countries with little or no statutory paid leave.In Sweden, where women are entitled to 60 weeks' paid leave, only 31.6 per cent of managers are female, but in America, where women are not entitled to paid leave, 42.7 per cent of management positions are occupied by women. 

Under existing rules British mothers are entitled to 39 weeks' paid leave but can choose to take 52 weeks' leave in total. Magnus Henrekson, head of the research institute in Stockholm and one of the authors of the study, told The Sunday Times: “When you have high levels of maternity leave, it pays for women to be in the labour market but not aim at a high-flying career.

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