Scandinavia offers most generous parental support in Europe

Savings, money, piggy bank


Norway is the best place in Europe to become a new parent when it comes to receiving cash from employers and the government, according to a survey.

The survey by money-saving website shows new mums and dads in Norway can claim up to £52,780 in child-related benefits – or the equivalent of 15 months’ average pay.

Neighbouring Sweden is the next best place to have a child with handouts worth more than £37,000. The UK is in eighth place, behind Germany, France, Austria, Finland and Denmark, with parent support coming in at £16,758, about 61% of the average annual salary in the country.

The survey looked at maternity, paternity and other parental benefits payable across Europe, factoring in both employer and state contributions. It compared the amount of benefits available with the average gross annual wage in each nation to get a clear picture of how well countries look after young parents.

It shows there are huge disparities across Europe when it comes to average annual incomes and levels of benefits paid to new parents.

Greece was revealed as having the lowest parental benefits in Europe with just £3,993 available to new mums and dads. Yet at a third of the average annual wage Greece’s lowly benefits package was found to be more generous than Ireland’s. It offers new parents just £4,095 in benefits – equivalent to only 16% of the nation’s average annual wage. That makes Ireland’s parental benefits package is less generous than Poland, Croatia or Portugal.

Germany offers new parents up to £31,795 – almost double the benefits UK parents can receive – while couples in France can claim up to £17,394, just over the level available in Britain.

Polish parents are offered up to £6,989, Croatian couples can claim up to £9,016 while Portuguese parents can access just to £5,045.

Italy offers parents up to £9,553, or almost half its average salary, while Spain makes just £7,112 available or about one third of the average wage.

A spokesperson for who conducted the research, said: “There’s a shocking level of discrepancy when it comes to the help available to new parents across Europe.

“In Norway and Sweden the benefits on offer are incredibly generous and easily come in at well over a year’s pay for the average worker in those countries.

“On the other hand if you are planning to start a family in Greece or Ireland then you might want to consider packing up your bags and moving to somewhere a little more generous such as the Czech Republic or Austria.

“It may surprise some people to discover that here in the UK we have less generous parental benefits than many other nations such as Germany and France.”


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