The United States is currently one of the world’s few industrialized countries without the guarantee of paid family leave for new parents and caregivers. Employer-based paid family leave policies reach only 23% of the workforce and are more commonly offered to those receiving a higher income. Workers in the highest-earning jobs are two to three times as likely to have access to either paid parental or paid family leave as those in the lowest- earning jobs. Parents who are new to the workforce, those in lower-wage or precarious jobs, or those who choose to stay home to care for young children are those least served by the United States’ current patchwork approach to supporting families.
Because of changes in the legal environment around pregnancy and abortion, it is more urgent than ever to address the material needs of expectant and new parents. In surveys of women seeking an abortion, one of the most common reasons given by women for making that choice was that they did not believe they could afford to cover the financial costs related to raising a child (73%). It is crucial that expectant parents be assured that they will be supported in caring for a new child.
Honoring motherhood means building a common life in which all families are supported in their irreplaceable work. This includes health care and time to care for loved ones. Read more about the work of CPJ’s Families Valued leadership council on paid family leave at the link below.