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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son. More

Read more in our collection of stories from moms and dads across the country about the need for paid family leave.

Know the Facts

  • Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
  • In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
  • 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
  • The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

Summiting Together

Posted July 21, 2014 by Sara Alcid

The White House Summit on working families was last month, but we’re still riding the high of the momentum and energy cultivated at such a groundbreaking event. The fact that our nation’s leaders dedicated an entire day to issues that MomsRising members have been working on since we were founded in 2006 is huge. It’s a [...]

Domestic workers and their allies in Massachusetts passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.

Posted July 21, 2014 by Bekah Mandell

Take Action!They did it!   Domestic workers and their allies in Massachusetts passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. This is fourth Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to pass in four years, following New York, California, and Hawaii. It reflects a growing recognition from workers, employers and allies that domestic work is real work and [...]

The Great Work Cultures Initiative: Raise a Big Tent, Invite a Million Friends

Posted July 15, 2014 by joan

I became aware of the huge bias against mothers in hiring, wages and advancement over a decade ago.  In response I co-founded MomsRising.org with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner.  As I learned more and more about work that was compatible with parenthood it became clear that all the practices that are good for mothers are good for everybody, businesses included. [...]

Tell your Senator to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act!

Posted July 11, 2014 by Ruth Martin

Take Action! Did you know that only 12% of Americans have access to paid family (maternity/paternity) leave in the United States? And that having a baby is a leading cause of poverty spells in this country?  Do you find that appalling? Me too. That’s why we were thrilled when the FAMILY Act (a paid family [...]

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