Originally published at mothering.com
The United States is one of the only developed countries lacking affordable healthcare, fair access to higher education, and paid parental leave.
New York state, and the city of San Francisco have both taken the issue of parental leave into their own hands and created new laws that support the bonding and health of parents and their new babies.
California already has one of the most progressive parental leave laws in the U.S. — they offer up to 4 months of job-protected leave, with 12 weeks paid at 55%.
San Francisco’s new law allows for 6 weeks of fully paid parental leave. New York’s program will mandate 12 weeks paid, doubling San Francisco’s effort, and far surpassing most other states and cities in this country.
The benefits of maternity leave (and the financial support and job security that comes with it) are numerous. Maternity leave helps support bonding and breastfeeding, and it can help decrease the risk of postpartum depression as well. Since babies are at higher risk for illness and infection, keeping them home with mom to be breastfed, rather than sending them off to daycare when the new parents have to go back to work, makes this a public health issue as well.
When will the rest of the United States catch on?
Image via Tatiana Vdb