A Short History Of U.S. Maternity Leave Law

Credit Donald R. Broyles/Associated Press

The Clintons with New Baby

Credit Donald R. Broyles/Associated Press

April 18, 2024 at 7:34AM UTC
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.


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