These States Just Made History By Passing Paid Family Leave Laws
America has a not-so-great history of maternity leave. As in, we don't really have any laws protecting mothers or their families after the hard physical, emotional, and financially-draining work of having a baby or babies.
There are some people who still think that maternity leave or paternity leave is a privilege and not a right. However, the numbers and studies show that not only is protected maternity leave better for the health of moms and babies, but it's actually better for our economy too. Parents with access to parental leave are able to recover properly, take fewer sick days, and raise healthier children as well. They are able to stick with their companies too, creating a stronger workforce with less turnover and decreased training pay for replacement workers.
The bottom line is that protected parental leave benefits everyone and two areas in the United States have actually made history by passing some of the most comprehensive paid family leave laws for parents.
According to Forbes, New York's law mandates 12 weeks of paid time off for both new parents or those who need to take time off to care for a sick relative. So the laws are about protecting caregivers who do invaluable work in our society, not just parents, which is an important realization. As a society, we definitely need to recognize and protect the rights of caregivers and not just put down individuals who care for others for not “working.” Because they are working and actually providing real economic value too, even if their contributions aren't directly visible.
The funds for the leave come out of part-time and full-time workers' wages, so 50 cents to one dollar are deducted every week into a pool.
California's law looks even more comprehensive, promising all new parents of any gender six weeks of fully paid time off for birth or adoption. The law is supplemented by the state of California's disability insurance, but the money itself again comes out of employee paychecks.
I think the law is a great step towards paid family leave and as a part-time employee myself, I wish I would have access to any sort of paid time off when I needed it. Just the fact that I wasn't full-time working as a nurse didn't really give me a lot of options for building any paid time off, so it would be nice to have some kind of support for even part-time employees in place.
What do you think of the new family leave laws?