Database Descriptions

To complement our data dashboards, you can read about our policy data, its sources, how we code it and aggregate it, and how it can be used in research.
Data Sources Coding Process Building of Longitudinal Databases Limitations Our Databases

DATA SOURCES

Original national legislation was our preferred primary source of data; full-text copies of relevant legislation, in addition to information on amendments and repeals, were located mainly through the ILO’s NATLEX and TRAVAIL databases. When full-text legislation was not available through NATLEX or TRAVAIL, researchers located laws through national government websites, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law website, the legislation library Lexadin, and the World Legal Information Institute. In some cases, hard copies of legislation were obtained from the McGill University library.

If primary sources were not available, secondary sources such as national reports on policies and laws to the UN and to official global and regional bodies were used instead, after a review of their reliability and of the consistency and comparability of their methodology across countries. Secondary sources were also consulted to clarify or complement information available through primary sources.

Specific sources for each database are listed under the corresponding database tab.


CODING PROCESS

Coding is the process by which an individual researcher takes a piece of information from legislation, policy, or any other source and translates it into a set of characteristics that can be quantitatively analyzed. For each country, two researchers from our multilingual team coded data sources independently and compared their results to ensure accuracy. Whenever coding required a judgment call by the coder, the rules underlying such decisions were systematically described in a codebook and applied consistently across countries. Coding was conducted in the original language of the document by team members fluent in the language; when this was not possible, we used a version translated into one of the official UN languages.


BUILDING OF LONGITUDINAL DATABASES

To code our databases, we first started with cross-sectional 2012 policy databases developed collaboratively by MACHEquity and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD). Second, we reviewed the date of the sources used; when a national law used in the 2012 databases had been enacted before 1995 and had not been amended or repealed since, it was assumed that its provisions remained applicable from 1995 through 2012. The same text was therefore used to code all variables for that particular country between 1995 and 2012.

When a national law used to code the 2012 databases was enacted sometime between 1995 and 2012, the same text was used to code variables in the years after the law was enacted, and researchers then searched for the legislation that was in force in the preceding years. All variables between 1995 and that later law were coded using the original full-text prior legislation. The most current and in-force laws were always located first, and changes in legislation were thereafter traced back to 1995.

As a last step, we compared the 2012 sources with those used by our partners at UCLA to update the databases to 2014. That comparison allowed researchers to fill in 2013 data points by recording any changes in policy that occurred between 2012 and 2014.


LIMITATIONS

Our databases focus on national policies and therefore do not capture subnational differences or policies based on collective agreements available to subgroups of employees. In countries with federal systems, if there was no federally-enacted policy, then the policy applicable to the majority of the population was recorded for the entire country (i.e. the most populated state/province guarantee was coded as applying to the entire country) If the majority of a country’s population resided in states or provinces that had no policy for a particular issue, then the entire country was coded as not having that policy. In addition, our databases record the existence of policies and not their level of implementation. To our knowledge, there is currently no global source providing historical data or comprehensive information on implementation of policies.

Although our team makes every effort to assure the accuracy of the data, we realize that mistakes are possible due to human error or data omissions while coding. If you find an error in our databases, we ask that you contact us to report it and provide any available documentation through which the error can be verified and corrected.


OUR DATABASES

A few of our datasets, including maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks at work, child marriage and minimum wage, are currently available for download through our data dashboards. You can contact us directly if you have any questions about the availability and use of our policy data. If you have any questions about data points from 2014 onwards, please contact the WORLD team.

Maternity Leave

Scope

Longitudinal data is available for every year between 1995-2013 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates.

Description

This dataset captures whether women have a legislated right to paid maternity leave and/or parental leave. Longitudinal information on maternity leave policies includes whether paid leave was available for mothers to care for their infants, its length, and the rate at which wages were replaced. Length of leave was recorded in weeks without distinguishing between what portions of the leave have to be taken before and after the birth of the child. We report the leave available under normal conditions and do not include additional entitlements for extraordinary circumstances such as multiple births, subsequent births, or childbirth complications. In recording the length of leave and the wage replacement rate we always assume that women meet all the qualifying conditions to receive payments, including work tenure and payments into Social Security.

Sources

In addition to sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Maternity Leave database:

Breastfeeding Breaks at Work

Scope

Longitudinal data is available for every year between 1995-2013 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates.

Description

This dataset captures whether women have a legislated right to breastfeeding breaks at work. The dataset includes information on whether breastfeeding breaks at work were legally guaranteed to nursing female employees, whether they were paid, and for how long they were available.

The length of entitlement to breastfeeding breaks after birth is captured in terms of the age of the child. For countries that legislate the length of breastfeeding breaks in terms of time after a mother has returned to work and also provide paid maternity leave, the length of breaks is the sum of maximum post-birth paid maternity leave and the breastfeeding break entitlement.

Sources

In addition to sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Breastfeeding Breaks at Work database:

Minimum Age for Marriage

Scope

Longitudinal data is available for every year between 1999 and 2012 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates.

Description

This dataset captures the minimum age at which boys and girls can legally marry. It also identifies whether exceptions can be made to minimum age laws. The database is coded for girls and for boys separately, so it is possible to analyze gender.

Sources

In addition to sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Minimum Age for Marriage database:

Minimum Wage

Scope

Longitudinal data is available for every year between 1999 and 2013 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates.

Description

This dataset captures whether a minimum wage policy exists in a country and quantifies the monthly minimum wage level over time. The minimum wages recorded in this database apply only to private sector workers, unless it is stipulated in the sources that private sector minimum wages cannot be lower than public sector minimum wages. One exception is self-declared socialist economies where the government/public sector has traditionally been one of the largest employers; in this case, we recorded minimum wage levels for the public sector.

In countries where the minimum wage is sector-specific or occupation-specific, we captured the minimum wage level applicable to either the manufacturing sector or unskilled workers.

Sources

In addition to sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Minimum Wage database:

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Scope

Longitudinal data has been coded every year between 1999 and 2012 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates. This database is not yet available for download.

Description

This dataset captures the existence of policies establishing cash benefits during unemployment. We do not currently record historical data on severance pay for employees.

Sources

In addition to the sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Unemployment Insurance Benefits database:

Family Cash Benefits

Scope

Longitudinal data has been coded for every year between 1999 and 2012 for the 121 countries that have been surveyed by either the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) or the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at least once between those dates. This database is not yet available for download.

Description

This dataset captures the existence of policies establishing family allowances that require the presence of children in the household as a condition for eligibility. Our database focuses on cash payments only.

We recorded cash payments that occur on a long-term/continuous basis, not one-time or short-term supplementary grants. Therefore the benefits in this database do not include payments such as birth or prenatal grants. We also indicate whether such benefits are subject to a means-test, and whether they are universal or only available to certain groups such as single-parent families, large families, or orphans.

Sources

In addition to the sources listed on the main pages, the following sources were used to code the Family Cash Benefits database:

Child Labour

This dataset is currently under construction. Once finished it will capture the legal minimum age at which children are permitted to perform light, general and hazardous work as well as information on the number of hours children are permitted to work on school days and nights.