Estonia one of the best countries to be a parent

Finland and Estonia are the best countries in the world to be a parent when it comes to the work-life balance, according to a research by a British service comparison website, Expert Market.

The methodology used by the company to determine this result was comparing and analysing four unique data points: average annual hours worked by parents; the number of paid annual leave working days permitted by law in each country; total paid leave available to mothers; and total paid leave reserved for fathers, for a total of 37 countries.

Estonia first for paid leave available to mothers

The research revealed that close northern European neighbours, Finland and Estonia, are the top two countries respectively for parents’ work-life balance. Finland secured first place, scoring excellently on paid annual leave allowances and Estonia came in second with the best result for paid leave available to mothers – an impressive 85 weeks at full-rate pay.

The top countries for parents’ work-life balance after Finland and Estonia are Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Norway, Luxembourg and Slovakia.

Despite being one of the world’s most developed nations, the United States scored the worst of all the OECD countries. Its failure to provide any statutory paid leave to mothers or fathers, paired with the nation’s Fair Labour Standards Act – which does not require employers to pay workers for any annual leave whatsoever –means that, in terms of parents’ work-life balance, the US lags behind other established western powers.

The worst countries to be a parent in terms of work-life balance after the United States are Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, Chile, Israel, Turkey, Ireland, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Expert Market is a UK-based products and services comparison website.


Cover: A mother and a child in the Estonian forest (Stina Kase.)

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at