A more lucrative time to procreate might be just around the corner for European women.
Members of the European Parliament have put their support behind a controversial bill that would make 20-week maternity leaves at full pay mandatory in the European Union, reports the BBC.
Laws for parental leave vary widely among EU member states, but also around the world.
In Canada, the Employment Insurance Act (amended in December 2000) states that Canadians can access up to a year's leave at 55 per cent regular pay; the time can be taken by one parent or split by both.
Globally, Norway (which is not part of the EU) leads the progressive pack with 42 weeks of parental leave at full pay (or a whole year at 80 per cent). Many other countries, including Australia, South Korea and the United States, offer only unpaid leaves. (It's a mere 12 weeks in U.S. Stop minding that baby! Gotta get back to achieving that American Dream!)
Not everyone's a fan of the proposed extended leave, of course. Business leaders in the EU have protested, claiming the cost would be too great for them (even though most can claim back much of the wages they pay from the government).
But many women are opposed to it as well, warning lawmakers that extended, full-salary maternity leave benefits could lead to employers choosing male candidates for jobs over females who are better qualified.
The proposed legislation must be negotiated with EU governments before it becomes law.