America Leads The World In Crappy Parental Leave Policies

Illustration for article titled America Leads The World In Crappy Parental Leave Policies

Has this week left you feeling like the government is on a campaign to do you and your lady bits wrong? Well unfortunately, this won't make you feel any better. A Human Rights Watch report released today says that of the 190 countries studied, the United States is one of only three that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave, Reuters reports. (We're in the same leaky boat as women from Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.)


Janet Walsh, the organization's deputy women's rights director, explains how the country is putting itself at an economic disadvantage by failing to support new parents:

"Countries that have these programs show productivity gains, reduced turnover costs, and health care savings. We can't afford not to guarantee paid family leave under law - especially in these tough economic times."

What about the Family and Medical Leave Act? That does allow employees with newborns to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but it only covers half of all Americans. For a breakdown of the inadequacies of the law, check out the post "Parental Leave Laws Still Suck." It was written in May 2009, but the law doesn't suck any less today!

While in some other countries employers must give new parents a year or more of paid leave, only about 11% of Americans have any option of paid medical leave, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. Says Walsh, "Leaving paid leave to the whim of the employers means millions of workers are left out, especially low-income workers who may need it most."

Walsh concludes, "Despite its enthusiasm about 'family values', the U.S. is decades behind other countries in ensuring the well-being of working families." Lately the House Republicans have become more brazen about their support of policies that hurt women and children, but sadly, our legislators have been failing to support our families for years.


U.S. Behind The World On Parental Leave: Report [Reuters]

Earlier: A Reminder: Parental Leave Laws Still Suck

Image via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.



A friend who wanted to take FMLA had planned to take the 12 weeks and then have her husband take his 12 weeks to care for their newborn was told that they had to split the leave because they both worked for the same employer. Family friendly, my ass.