by Sara Margulis
Originally published: May 25, 2017
Times have changed since the era of majority-female homemakers and male breadwinners: Women today make up 60 percent of the workforce in the United States and are working their way up to top executive positions. That's progress, but there's less positive news when it comes to maternity and family leave: In fact, U.S. policy has yet to catch up to the rest of the world in these areas.
Under current federal law, new mothers may legally take up to 12 weeks off with job protection, but only 13 percent of new mothers receive any compensation during their leave. A 2015 UN report described the United States as one of only four countries in the world that do not offer paid maternity leave. And, within this country itself, only three states -- California, New Jersey and Rhode Island -- offer it.
Even in those states, new mothers are eligible only for partial income replacement through their state's disability/family leave program, supported by payroll taxes. (California fathers are also eligible for paid family leave.) If a business employs staff in these states, its corporate benefits can be designed to supplement the gap in income. Employees of these businesses who live in other states? They're out of luck.