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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

Victory! New Labor Rule Allows Employees Across the U.S. To Take FMLA Leave To Care for a Same-Sex Spouse

Posted February 25, 2015 by Michael Porcello

On Monday morning, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a new rule allowing employees to take unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for their same-sex spouse, regardless of where the couple lives. Previously, employees were only eligible to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse if [...]

Great news! Seattle expands access to paid parental leave

Posted February 24, 2015 by Kristin

GREAT news from Seattle! Sending a round of applause & thank you to the Seattle City Council, especially Councilwoman Jean Godden for leading the charge that just expanded access to paid parental leave to all City of Seattle employees. Beyond honored to speak & share the voices of moms at the City Council press conference to welcome [...]

Posted Under: paid family leave

The Healthy Families Act: Paid Leave Americans Need and Deserve

Posted February 20, 2015 by Tamika Middleton

Before getting into teaching, Shalonda Ravenell never considered the issue of paid time off or maternity leave. “As a teacher, the job that you do, you don’t get paid what you’re worth, so you would think that there’s sick leave somewhere for you when you have babies,” said Shalonda, a married mother of two and [...]

Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling: An Overview of Employee Protections for Women in the Workplace

Posted February 6, 2015 by R. Scott Oswald

Few will say that the United States has reached the point where female employees are universally treated as equals to their male counterparts.  Indeed, the American Association of University Women recently issued a report indicating that in 2013, female employees received approximately seventy-eight cents for every dollar earned by a male employee. Fortunately, there exist [...]

Posted Under: paid family leave
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