Hopes of mandating paid family days may lose to recession

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In 2014, the International Labour Organization reviewed parental leave policies in 185 countries and territories, and found that all countries except Papua New Guinea have laws mandating some form of parental leave.The United States, Suriname, Papua New Guinea, and a few island countries in the Pacific Ocean are the only countries in the United Nations that do not require employers to provide paid time off for new parents.Criticism is often less concerned about the idea of paternity leave itself, but condemns the fact that father's quota policies do not allow that time to be allocated to the mother instead.Critics argue that the quota harms mothers, depriving them of much needed leave, trivializes biological realities, and is an example of discrimination against mothers. Comparison between countries in term of employee benefits to leave for parents are often attempted, but these are very difficult to make, because of the complexity of types of leave available and because terms such as maternity leave, paternity leave, pre-natal leave, post-natal leave, parental leave, family leave and home-care leave, have different meanings in different jurisdictions. Comparing the length of maternity leave (which is common in international rankings) may say very little about the situation of a family in a specific country.

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While gender discrimination is illegal, without some kind of remedy, the neoclassical model would predict "statistical discrimination" against hiring women of child-bearing years.If the father does not take this reserved part of leave, the family loses that leave period -- that is, it cannot be transferred to the mother.Given the high rates of women's participation in the formal labor force in many parts of the world, there is increasing interest among social scientists and policymakers in supporting a more equal division of labor between partners.Jeremiah Carter and Martha Nussbaum have developed a political model known as the capabilities approach, where basic freedoms and opportunities are included in economic assessments of a country's well-being, in addition to GDP.Nussbaum proposed 11 central capabilities as the minimum requirement for a decent society.

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