Why Paid Family Leave is Good for Everyone
The majority of families do not have a stay at home parent. In fact, 71% of children live with two working parents or a single parent.
The percentage of adult children caring for younger siblings has tripled over the past 15 years..
Nearly 1 in 4 employed women return to work just two weeks after delivery.
The U.S. is one of the only two countries that do not ensure ANY paid time off for new moms.
This is just a portion of problematic effects surrounding parents and the workforce.
Business Insider says, “Parental Leave is good for everyone.”
Who is everyone? Business. Economy. Families. Mothers. Women. Minorities. The Lower Class.
Let’s unpack that a little.
Business/Economy- Some positive things that follow the implementation of paid family leave are an increase in labor-force participation and employee retention. Paid parental leave policies are associated with higher employment-to-population ratios and decreased unemployment for all workers. When parents are eligible for paid family leave they are more likely to return to their pre-leave job than those who are not. When this happens, businesses and employees benefit. Companies do not have to spend the time and resources on training someone new and it helps workers stay in jobs that they are skilled in and enjoy, increasing overall job productivity.
There is an increase in employer profitability and a decrease on the reliance of public assistance and food stamps. After implemented in California, 91% of employers reported a "positive effect or no noticeable effect on business profitability and performance." Women who return to work after paid leave are 39% less likely to receive public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps than those who keep working with no paid leave.
It also reduces the financial burden of illness that has shown to lead to bankruptcy. Research shows that 25% of dual-income families and 13% of single parent families file for bankruptcy after missing 2+ weeks of work due to illness or caring for a sick family member. This relieves employees of the financial stress while balancing unexpected illnesses and overall family care.
Families/Children- American Workers are relieved of the financial stress while balancing unexpected illnesses and family care. The majority of families are not financially equipped to take an extended period of time off work without potentially digging themselves a fiscal hole. It allows more father involvement with child-rearing. In an Icelandic Study, 70% of fathers that receive that extra time are still sharing child-rearing responsibilities up to three years later. More father involvement runs parallel with taking a little pressure of the mothers' child-rearing responsibilities. A lot of studies have found that parental leave enhances children's health and development. Some things associated with parental leave include an increased duration of breastfeeding, (having lasting positive effects on the child's health) and a reduction in infant mortality and behavioral issues in children.
Women- Paid leave can have a positive, lasting effect on a woman's mental health and can help close the gender pay gap. While paid leave is associated with a reduction in Postpartum Depression, women exposed to a more generous leave are less likely to suffer from depression 30 years later. Women being more likely to spend time out of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities contributes to the gap in pay between men and women. Paid leave can increase lifetime earnings and retirement security in women workers especially. In return, women's attachment to the labor force would increase and work towards closing that gap.
Research on California's implementation also shows that making paid leave more widely available especially helps minority women, those with less education, and unmarried women who cannot afford the leave.
"SUPPORT FOR MOTHERHOOD SHOULDN'T BE A MATTER OF LUCK; IT SHOULD BE A MATTER OF COURSE. PAID MATERNITY LEAVE IS GOOD FOR MOTHERS, FAMILIES, AND BUSINESS. AMERICA SHOULD HAVE THE GOOD SENSE TO JOIN NEARLY EVERY OTHER COUNTRY IN PROVIDING IT." -CEO SUSAN WOJCICIKI TELLS THE WALL STREET JOURNAL