US lags rest of the world in paternity leave benefits


WomenAndTech_MaternityLeaveInfographicPaid maternity recently finds itself in the news as Microsoft announced last week that they will increase their maternity leave to 20 weeks paid leave, and non-birth parents can take up to 12 weeks paid leave. Microsoft and Netflix are among many tech and financial institutions that are increasing maternity benefits to recruit top talent and encourage their current employees to stay with their company after having a child.  There are two anticipated benefits for the companies to increase maternity benefits:

  1. Workers will come back to their same workplace after having a baby and therefore companies will not lose their investment / the employees intellectual capital. Google reported new mothers were leaving the company at half the rate they previously did.
  2. Women are most affected by maternity benefits and having women in the workforce increases diversity. Diversity in a company has been proven to help a company’s bottom line.

In addition to benefits for the companies, there have been studies on the benefits of extending maternity leave on the health and development of children. An Economic Study from CA program suggests there are positive outcomes and instead of negative economic outcomes for businesses. The growing evidence base, in addition to this trend led by the private market, may serve as a tipping point for the U.S. federal government. Currently, the U.S. is the only country in the developed world that doesn’t offer government-mandated paid maternity leave.



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2 Responses to “US lags rest of the world in paternity leave benefits”

  1. combsem Says:

    Thank you jsmall14 for addressing the USA’s shortcomings with regard to maternity and paternity leave from the perspective of the employer. It is interesting that the technology & financial companies are taking steps to improve their systems. I would like to see studies calculating the economic loss/gain of supporting parents for X,Y,Z number of weeks versus hiring and training new staff. Undoubtedly models are available since policy has been in place in Sweden for 40 years. Another strong argument to use to target a different stakeholder audience is the individual and societal benefits from supporting early childhood development. Thank you for your article.

  2. alicemann1 Says:

    This is such a huge issue that really is not getting enough attention, so thank you for writing this. Paid parental leave not only affects business, but perhaps most importantly, it affects families. People feel like they have to choose between paying the rent and having children, when in reality, both can occur. This specifically hits families who already live in poverty and are trying to juggle work, children and paying for daycare, the cost of which is also an issue that needs to be addressed. How is it possible that the US is the only developed country that does not care about the wellbeing of the family unit?!

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