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Slow progress on paid maternity leave
10/5/2018
 
Only one-third of U.S. employers offer paid maternity leave beyond the extent required by law, according to a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management. Earlier in the decade, paid maternity leave was even less common as only one in six employers offered it beyond legal requirements.

As reported by Insurance Journal, the Society for Human Resource Management says more employers are offering maternity benefits to retain workers without increasing their wages. Liz Supinski, director of data science at SHRM, says benefits such as paid parental leave “may be more psychologically appealing” than a raise.

The Family Medical Leave Act allows new parents who qualify to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a newborn, but there’s no U.S. statute mandating leave time be paid. Insurance Journal notes several states and cities have passed their own paid leave laws. Massachusetts recently became the sixth state to have a paid family leave law on the books. New parents get up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a sick family member or a new baby.

Nevertheless, most Americans aren’t getting paid time off to care for newborns. As of 2017, only 15% of U.S. workers got any paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 11% in 2012.