Maternity Leave Facts and Figures for the U.S.


Maternity Leave Facts and Figures for the U.S.


Welcome to our collection of the best content we could find about maternity leave! We've mainly focused on aggregating publicly available data — using official statistics and primary sources. We've also collected some great academic papers, non-profit research and in-depth articles we think provide important information about parental and maternity leave.

Please let us know if we’re missing any great resources on the topic and we'll add them!

United States Resources

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 12% of civilian employees had access to paid family leave in 2013. This table breaks down who gets paid family leave, and who doesn’t. (The reason that some totals are greater than 100% is that some workers have access to both paid and unpaid leave).

Table of U.S. family leave benefits for civilian workers

To provide historical perspective, this chart by the U.S. Department of Labor (courtesy of Forbes) shows shows a few things have changed in the last 50 years for first-time mothers working outside the home:

  • Working moms work later into their pregnancies (1 month or less before giving birth)
  • Working moms return to work sooner after giving birth
  • Working moms have more access to more maternity leave (paid, unpaid, or some combination)
Table of what U.S. mothers do when pregnant and returning to work

Working moms have more access to paid and unpaid leave thanks in part to federal legislation, called the Family Medical Leave Act (or FMLA).

For more about the FMLA and other laws, click here

To see how the U.S. compares to other countries (hint: very poorly), see our research on International Parental Leave


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