How The U.S. Parental Leave Policy Stacks Up Against The World

by | Oct 2, 2017

Parental leave is one of the more controversial topics in the U.S.

Unlike many other countries, the U.S. offers no paid parental leave which puts many young parents in a financial pinch. The alternative to paid parental leave provided 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 a family medical emergency.

Unfortunately, many employees can’t afford to go 12 weeks without a paycheck. To make matters more complicated, only 60% of workers qualify for FMLA. To be eligible for FMLA, an employee needs to work full-time for a company for a year, and that company needs to employ 50 employees within 75 miles. This means most parents end up going back to work early or falling back on credit cards during their parental leave.

Don't leave your career to chance- download our post-maternity leave career guide to help you in this time of transition.

While certain states such as California and Rhode Island make changes at the state level and select companies such as Spotify and Netflix are increasing the time off, it still falls short of many other countries. The United States is part of the roughly 4% of countries in the United Nations that does not provide any paid parental leave. Parents are forced to earn extra money ahead of time to try and offset the difference.

Why it would be beneficial for the U.S. to provide paid parental leave

Recent research has shown that paid parental leave has several benefits including lowering infant mortality rate, improved breastfeeding rate, and a lower risk of depression for women that get more than 8 weeks of paid leave and 12 weeks of maternal leave.

Developing a paid parental leave program would provide several benefits to those employed in the United States. Check out the infographic from Investment Zen below to learn more about how the U.S. stacks up to other countries in parental leave. You might be surprised how much other countries provide for parental leave as well as learn some interesting facts in the process.

After a gap away from work it can sometimes feel daunting to go back. Take a look at our online workshop Building your Confidence to prepare you for your return.


parental leave in the U.S

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hazelgarcia Contributor
Hazel Garcia is a writer and graphic designer for InvestmentZen who loves maximizing (and spending!) credit card rewards. In her spare time she's also an avid traveler and foodie, and often goes on adventures with her faithful canine companion Momo.

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