Alone At The Bottom

The United States is the only developed country without paid maternity leave.

The United States Is The Only Developed County Without Paid Maternity Leave

The United States remains the only member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, that does not guarantee mothers any paid time off from work after the birth of a new child. The fact is not new, but it is so shocking that it deserves another look:

While mothers are technically guaranteed unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, research shows that only about half of working mothers in the United States can qualify for job-protected leave–and wage replacement is at the discretion of employers, except in the three states that have paid family leave laws enabling workers to access some form of wage replacement. Meanwhile, paid maternity leave has proven benefits for families and the society as a whole. Check out these two charts below:


Women who have access to paid leave after the birth of a new child are more likely to return to work than women who do not have access to paid leave.


Countries guaranteeing longer paid maternity leave have lower child poverty rates that countries that do not.

BOTTOM LINE: Americans pride themselves on being the best. It is frankly embarrassing that the United States comes in dead last on ensuring economic support for new moms. Our workplaces have changed–and we need policies that keep up.

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