It is still absolutely shocking that in 2017 the U.S. is the only developed country that does not promise paid leave to new parents. Though support for paid maternity leave has grown over the last 20 years, a recent study found that the number of women in the U.S. who take maternity leave has remained stagnant during that time. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that in 1994, 278,000 women took maternity leave (both paid and unpaid), and as of 2015, only 300,000 women reported taking it. Even more shocking, this number has remained the same even in states that are offering these new, more improved maternity laws.
A really big part of the problem is that as Paid Leave for the United States points out in their second report on paid family leave that there are major discrepancies in treatment with these policies between corporate and low-wage employees at the same company. Basically corporate employees get better parental leave benefits while hourly, field, and part-time workers get significantly less time off or nothing at all in some cases. The study found that 94 percent of low-income working people have no access to paid family leave and millions of Americans don’t get even a single day of paid time for caregiving. One in 4 new moms in the U.S. is back at work just 10 days after childbirth.
This is especially disconcerting as the report finds that companies that offer paid family leave to all employees show increased morale, as well as cost savings from job retention — including for those in lower-wage jobs. Parental leave is also a major benefit for health. A 2011 study showed that ten additional weeks of paid leave could reduce infant mortality by as much as 10 percent1. So which companies are being fully transparent and not making parental leave only an elite benefit?
The Swedish furniture giant offers up to four months of paid parental leave to all 14,000 hourly and salaried employees.
The denim brand offers the same policies to corporate employees and retail staff. Levi’s offers up to 16 weeks of paid family leave for birth mothers and 8 weeks for other new parents ,both salaried and hourly.
Nordstrom offers 12 weeks for birth mothers and 6 weeks for other new parents, both corporate and in retail stores
The athletic brand provides 14 weeks for birth mothers and 8 weeks paid family leave for other new parents and to care for a sick family member. However though their policy is equal for corporate and hourly employees,it leaves out part-time employees.
Bank of America
Bank of America along with Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase all offer equal paid leave to all their employees, both hourly and salaried.
The iconic brand also offers leave for salaried and hourly employees.
The hotel chain also offers equal leave for salaried and hourly employees.
Photo: Zhang Peng / Contributor for Getty