In news that won’t shock any parent in the United States, but may surprise new parents-to-be, the U.S. lags woefully behind EVERYONE else in the developed world when it comes to paid family leave. A report about maternity leave and the well-being of families, released last month from the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), mimics what we’ve been shown before, that many countries, 185 in all, provide paid maternity leave. The exceptions are Oman, Papua New Guinea, and the United States. Of those 185 countries, a full 78 of them also provide decent paternity leave, an almost unheard of luxury for companies in the USA. The report shows that women in the United States are supremely unlucky when it comes to maternity leave — especially paid leave. Just 11% of private industry Americans have access to any paid family leave, and only 16% of state and government employees have paid family leave available. In fact, shockingly, even the U.S. federal government provides no paid family leave to employees. To sum up, America is the ONE and ONLY developed nation with NO set standards surrounding paid family leave, which frankly is one the most shameful fails the U.S. government has ever made – and seriously, they’ve had more than a few fails.
Photo by Shutterstock
The Atlantic recently reported that while Hillary Clinton thinks federally mandated family leave should be implemented, “eventually” she doesn’t think it’s politically feasible at this time. Sadly, other politicians agree with Clinton. A semi-promising Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act that proposes offering new parents and caretakers the ability to take 12 paid weeks off each year was introduced last year. 87% of Democrats supported the Act, but it’s stalled in the House thanks to zero Republican support. In general, GOP politicians argue the bill would be far too expensive and hurt small businesses in terms of paperwork and time needed to provide paid time. Even though the ILO specifically states in their report that, “Paid maternity leave is crucial to protect the health and economic security of women and their children” it’s clear that the United States won’t be changing to support the needs of families anytime soon.
Lead image via ILO Working Conditions Laws Database