It’s not news that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world with no paid leave policy for new moms.
“U.S. Only Industrialized Nation With No Paid Leave For New Parents.” That’s an NPR headline … from 2010. “U.S. behind most of the world in parental leave policy: study; Papua New Guinea, Swaziland & U.S. lag.” That’s the mouthful of a headline attached to a Reuters piece the Daily News published … in 2011. Sometimes it’s Swaziland, sometimes Oman. Lately, Suriname. But always the U.S. and Papua New Guinea.
A few things have changed since those headlines, however: Oman has added a paid parental leave policy, and Swaziland provides cash benefits for two of its 12-week leave, according to reports.
Another thing has changed: The FAMILY Act has been reintroduced, giving the United States a chance to provide American workers with statutory paid family leave – something available to workers in every other Western and industrialized nation in the world.
Now that’s news. And this is why Care.com supports this important piece of legislation.
It’s the Economy
At the National Partnership for Women and Family’s annual gala luncheon last week, Care.com Founder, Chairwoman and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo publicly called for the adoption of the FAMILY Act and the Healthy Families Act.
She explained the reasoning behind Care.com’s support of these two pieces of legislation – which would, collectively, provide a self-sufficient system offering paid family leave to all American workers and enable all employees to accrue paid sick days – in a piece published on LinkedIn.
Here’s an excerpt:
In a recent survey of Care.com members, we learned that 71 percent of parents have considered quitting their jobs and 69 percent have made career changes due to the high cost of care. That’s consistent with the roughly 70 percent of senior caregivers who are forced to make career adjustments, such as turning down promotions or leaving their jobs, due to family responsibilities.
When mothers and fathers, or adult children caring for aging parents, withdraw from the workforce, their career concessions have widespread impact. They lose out on future job opportunities, limit their earning (and spending) potential and their employers lose valuable human capital and incur costly turnover expenses.
In short, everybody loses.
If the United States expects to remain a global economic leader, then we’d better start catching up – or better still, leaping ahead – when it comes to our policies that support working families. That’s why it’s so critically important that legislation like the FAMILY Act and the Healthy Families Act become law.
Yes, it’s about the economy.
The United States doesn’t provide paid maternity leave for new moms, despite mounting evidence that women with access to paid leave are more likely to return to their pre-birth employers and remain in the workforce.
We don’t provide paid paternity leave for new dads, despite mounting evidence that fathers who take leave remain more active parents throughout their children’s lives and that their leave positively impacts lifetime earnings of their spouses.
We don’t provide paid leave for new parents, despite research suggesting children whose parents take leave will be healthier and earn higher wages later in life.
“We, at Care.com, are proud to support these important pieces of legislation and when they become law, we’ll applaud our government for stepping up and truly making policies that will help millions of American families,” Marcelo wrote, explaining the endorsement on LinkedIn. “It’s a start. A hugely important and essential start. But for those laws to work, businesses need to step up too … and embrace and enforce these laws, in action and in spirit.”
Read the full post here.
Read more on policies supporting America's working families:
- Strengthening Working Families -- It Starts With Us
- What the State of the Union Means for Working Families - and Their Employers
- Does It Pay to Offer Paid Leave?
- #LeadOnLeave to Win the Talent Wars
- 5 Things You Need to Know About the Family Act
- When Helping Working Moms Doesn't Help