While the United States takes great pride and boasts about its "family values", it continues to trail most of the world in paid family leave, and is the only high-income country that does not offer a paid leave program. In the U.S. only 12 percent of workers get paid time off to care for a baby or a sick parent.
Did you know that of 185 UN member nations, only the U.S. and Papua New Guinea do not provide or require paid maternity leave? Read more
California (in 2004) and New Jersey (in 2009) have both established family leave insurance laws modeled after their temporary disability insurance programs. Costs for these programs, which allow workers to take paid leave to care for a new child or sick family member, are borne by the workers who pay 1% of their wages to cover both their state disability insurance and paid family leave insurance.
This month Rhode Island became the third state to start a paid family leave insurance program, and others states are soon to follow. Washington state passed a paid family leave law in 2008, although its enactment has been delayed to 2015 because of budget constraints, while New York and Massachusetts have bills pending in their state houses.
At the national level, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees workers 12 weeks unpaid leave to care for a newborn or sick relative, while in Germany mothers can take up to a year off from work and still receive 67 percent of their pay... in Canada, mothers get a year or more of maternity leave with 55 percent of their pay. But even while boasting about its "family Values" the United States remains the only advanced economy that does not provide paid parental leave. Be sure and watch the video above for more telling information.
Last year, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) introduced a bill that if passed would have established a fund for nationwide maternity leave. However, like most family or child friendly legislation it does not seem to have gotten far enough along in the legislative process to have been open up for debate. Read on