You Share 🗣 How Much Parental Leave Did You Get?
How much paid leave did you get, and how much paid leave did you want to have? Did you have any paid leave—or unpaid leave—with your state, region, or country? This is a reader thread for you to share your story. Tell us about your own experience having a baby, adding a family member, and taking parental leave. Share your story in the comments below.
PAID LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES & AROUND THE WORLD:
- In the United States, the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) established a very small amount of leave, but only 14% of qualified private-sector workers are actually eligible. The majority of Americans have no access to paid leave. Many patch together disability leave, sick leave, and vacation days to take a few weeks away to have a baby.
- The Internal Labor Organization’s guidelines for maternity leave are a minimum 12-week maternity leave, and at least 14 weeks is recommended. They also specify that women should be paid at least two-thirds of their earnings and receive full health insurance benefits.
SIX MONTHS HAS SIGNIFICANT HEALTH BENEFITS
- What’s remarkable about paid leave polices and the realities of maternity and paternity leave is that people get—and take—far shorter leaves than scientifically recommended. Research shows that a minimum of six months of paid leave results in the best mental and physical outcomes for mothers. “Even at six months, many new mothers are experiencing at least one symptom of physical illness such as fatigue, pain, dizziness, or incontinence,” writes Brigid Schulte for Slate in 2017.
- “Studies find that paid leaves of at least six months have significant, positive effects on maternal physical and mental health (even into old age), reductions in postpartum depression, an increase in breastfeeding, which has significant health benefits for mother and child, and a reduction in maternal stress and intimate partner violence,” Schulte explains in How Much Paid Leave Is Enough?
- Leaves shorter than 12 weeks are associated with higher depression, anxiety, negative self-esteem, work stress, and marital dissatisfaction.
WEIGH IN BELOW — SHARE YOUR STORY
- How much leave did you plan on taking? How much leave was possible for you? Was any of it paid?
- What was taking leave actually like, in reality? Was it what you expected?
- After going through it, looking back, would you have done anything differently?
- Do you have any advice or recommendations for people who are preparing for leave? What would you say to them about preparing for a new baby?