Ireland has been ranked among the worst countries in Europe for paid maternity leave, according to a new study.
The rankings were produced by Boundless, a global employment platform, after analysing how individual countries compensated women as they become new mothers.
The league table reveals that Ireland is among the lowest payers in Europe offering new mothers 42 weeks of maternity leave with €245 paid weekly for the first 26 weeks.
The UK is also towards the bottom of the table, where new mothers get up to 52 weeks of maternity leave but are entitled to 90% of their average weekly pay for the first six weeks.
The analysis found that Bulgaria boasts Europe's best maternity package, allowing new mothers to take a minimum of 58.6 weeks off, with its National Health Insurance Fund paying 90% of their full salary during leave.
Similarly, Norway pays mothers 80-100% of their full salary for at least 49 weeks.
"Our league table clearly shows the disparities in maternity leave across Europe and the need for the UK and Ireland to level up by increasing their basic rates," said Dee Coakley, CEO and co-founder of Boundless.
"But there's work that can be done at an employer level too and that's giving extended leave and pay," she added.
The study notes that employers and governments in Europe are responsible for covering statutory pay for new mothers to varying degrees.
Each country was assessed based on the length of full maternity pay it offers to employees.
Not all countries offer full pay so in those cases, the time was adjusted to reflect that.