Another guest post, this time from Hazel Garcia at Investmentzen.com!
Parental leave is one of the most controversial topics in the United States. Unlike many other developed countries, the US parental leave is non-existent. This puts new parents in a tough place as they often have to go back to work early because they can’t afford more time off. The only alternative to paid parental leave available is the Family and Medical Leave Act. If an employee qualifies, they can take up to 12 weeks off after the birth of a child or for certain family emergencies.
One resulting problem is that a large percentage of employees can’t afford to take 12 weeks off. To make the situation more difficult, only 60% of workers qualify for FMLA. To be eligible to take FMLA, an employee has to work full-time for a year for a company that has to employ 50 people within 75 miles. This leaves most parents going back to work early or relying on credit cards during their leave.
While a few states such as Rhode Island and California create options at the state level and a few companies such as Netflix and Spotify are increasing time off, the efforts still pale in comparison to many other countries. The United States is among roughly 4% of countries in the United Nations that do not provide any type of paid parental leave. Parents can either earn extra money ahead of time or shorten their time off.
Recent studies show that paid parental leave has several benefits including an improved breastfeeding rate, lower risk of depression, and a lower infant mortality rate for women that receive more than 8 weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of maternal leave.
Creating a paid parental leave program creates several benefits to U.S. employees. Check out the infographic from Investment Zen below to learn more about how the U.S. compares to other countries in terms of parental leave. You might be surprised how much other countries offer for parental leave.