November 25, 2017

Maternity Leave Serves as Major Topic of Discussion Among U.S. Workers

According to the International Labor Organization of the United Nations, the United States is currently the only country in the developed world without paid maternity leave as mandated by the government. In most cases, paid maternity leave is included as part of Social Security programs so that companies are not forced to bear the cost.

Maternity Leave a Rare Commodity in U.S. Companies

The Labor Department has reported that state and corporate benefits only cover approximately 12 percent of all private employees. Few U.S. states – Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and California – currently have paid-maternity-leave laws on the books. The ILO has performed numerous studies that demonstrate how difficult the transition can be for mothers who have insufficient maternity leave. Forced to return to the office or face serious consequences, mothers often compromise their health and the health of their newborn babies. The major issues cited in these studies include higher rates of hospitalization and infant illness, challenges with breast-feeding, and bouts with postpartum depression.

Recent Adjustments to Workplace Schedules Pay Dividends

When the state of California established paid medical leave, employers were satisfied with the new changes. A 2011 survey developed by the Center for Economic and Policy Research discovered that a vast majority – 91 percent – of employers stated the policy had either “positive effect” or “no effect” on their company’s profits. They also shared information about reduced turnover, higher morale and improved productivity.

Many mothers who wish to succeed at home and in the office have said that they gain new insights and a greater sense of purpose upon returning to work. In their view, paid maternity leave has been a major benefit for businesses, families and the community as a whole.

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