26 August 2008

Maternity leave in the U.S.

from New York Times article "Give a Break to Americans Giving Birth," November 4, 2006

According to a 2004 study by Jody Heymann, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, more than 160 countries offer some sort of leave for new mothers, paid by the government. Those that don't include Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Lesotho - and the United States.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for men and women. And even then it covers only people who have worked basically full-time for at least one year at companies with 50 or more employees. That means about 40% of working women don't qualify for leave under the FMLA.


Rayna said...

I knew mat leave in the US was bad, but I didn't realize that it was both unpaid AND only for people at companies with more than 50 people! that's insane! No wonder small family businesses can't grow!

Sande said...

Well in CA but only CA, there are some weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave. There are some requirements, though, for eligibility. For people without, you need to dip into your savings or become self-employed.