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Policy Areas

Work Schedules and Hours

Paid Leave from Work

Sick Leave

Pregnancy, Birth or Adoption

Leave for Children's Needs

Care for Elderly and Disabled Family Members



About Raising the Global Floor

With the support of the Ford Foundation and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Raising the Global Floor measures governmental performance around the world in meeting the needs of working women, men, and their families. Developed by researchers at the McGill University Institute of Health and Social Policy and the Harvard School of Public Health, the elements of the database comprise an evidence-based set of national labor policies that affect workers' ability to meet health and welfare needs.

Policy Areas Examined

We set out to examine a series of working conditions that affect workers' ability to meet health and welfare needs, which could be analyzed in a comparable way across countries. We focused on the daily lives of working men and women, their ability to continue to earn a living when special needs arose, and their capacity to care for their families on a routine basis. While it was not possible to obtain globally comparative data on all of the conditions associated with these issues, the policies we examined include a selection of those that have achieved: (1) widespread recognition based on the weight of the research evidence, and (2) consensus in international agreements, treaties, covenants, and other legal documents as being important to the health and well-being of working women, men, and their families.

The policy areas we examined include guarantees of:

  • Paid leave for new mothers
  • The right of mothers to breastfeed new infants during working hours
  • Paid leave for new fathers
  • Paid leave to meet personal health needs
  • Leave to address family members' health needs
  • Paid annual leave
  • A day of rest every week
  • Restrictions on the amount of overtime
  • Increased pay for overtime hours
  • Paid leave for family emergencies
  • Discretionary leave for family needs
  • Leave for family events such as marriages and funerals
  • Increased pay for night work
  • Restrictions on night work

For the sake of comparability and because countries can vary in their approaches to common policy goals, we selected the essential, core features of a given policy and then systematically analyzed and categorized the approach taken by each country.

Click here for detailed information on our methodology.




About the WoRLD Database Project

Funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Government of Quebec, the World Legal Rights Data Centre (WoRLD) global databases project began in 2005. This unprecedented initiative aims to significantly improve the level and quality of knowledge and comparative data available to global policymakers, NGOs and researchers on issues of labour, education, equity, and related social policy, as well as human rights and other social determinants of population health. Led by Jody Heymann, WoRLD continues to build on the international database Heymann began at Harvard with the Project on Global Working Families. WoRLD compares policies in all 192 UN countries. Once completed, it will include extensive and detailed data on social and demographic conditions and public policy, specifically addressing adult and child labour, education, equality, social security, poverty, and health and wellbeing outcomes.