Article creator image

BY Fairygodboss

A Short History of U.S. Maternity Leave Law

The Clintons with New Baby

Photo credit: Credit Donald R. Broyles/Associated Press

TAGS:Maternity leave, Parental leave, FMLA

Bryce Covert at ThinkProgress wrote a great opinion piece that should provide a bit more historical context to anyone wondering how the United States is one of only three countries in the OECD that doesn't offer any paid time off for new parents with a baby.

In addition to covering the legislative history of maternity leave in America since the 1980's, she highlights the progress we have made. Among other things, she discusses how politicians on both sides of the aisle (Republic and Democrat) are trying to talk about how to support working mothers (and not about whether moms should be working in the first place which used to be part of a legitimate political discussion just a generation ago).

Covert reports that FMLA still does not protect the 40% of American workers employed at small businesses from even any guaranteed unpaid time off when they have a baby. Thus, we are hopeful she is right that politicians and politics continues to move in the right direction in the new year.


Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Join us by reviewing your employer!


You May Also Like

Related Community Discussions

  • Hello, my company pays 100% of my maternity for 12 weeks. Initially I was told the process is for me to submit my state pay stubs at whatever frequency I'd like and my company would pay the difference to ensure I received 100% of my income. Last week I casually sent my HR department a note and they told me they can no longer honor that policy and won't pay the 100% until I return from maternity leave. Is there any laws to protect me in this situation? It's creating both stress and financial hardships.

  • Hi - I recently left my job and became pregnant. I am 12 weeks pregnant and job hunting. Its possible that I will have a couple of job offers in the next month. At what point in the interview/offer process do I tell an employer that I'm pregnant? Are there companies that will hold my job during maternity leave even though I won't qualify for FMLA? I'm also concerned with affecting a new relationship with an employer by revealing that I will be going on leave in six months. Has anyone else experienced this? Looking for facts and words of encouragement!

  • Has anyone ever used a good maternity leave coach? I'm feeling like a I think it could be helpful... but I'm not sure it's worth the money.

  • Do most women do some work while on leave - or at least check in with colleagues on what's going on at the office? Or is it better to totally disconnect?

  • I'm planning to pump at work and I want to make sure I buy the right things. Anyone have tips on best/most important equipment to purchase?

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously