Yesterday was a turning point for Americans employed by the video streaming service Netflix, as the online giant announced they will be offering unlimited time off during the first year for parents, after the birth or adoption of a child. This is a great step for all American families hoping to have children as it’s an action that leads the way to change for maternity and paternity leave in the U.S.
The United States shares a spot on the global stage with Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia and Lesotho as one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have laws in place to mandate some type of paid maternity leave after the introduction of a new child to the family, for mothers or fathers.
Some measures are in place. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), signed into law in 1993, requires employers to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a variety of medical conditions including the birth of a baby. A few states like New Jersey and California include maternity benefits as part of their state disability insurance plan and this can provide some income during needed time off.
But the average American worker and their family has little support with a new child. Even with the FMLA, new families suffer as the law exempts small employers who have fewer than 50 employees, and some states have their own version of the act with a lower threshold for employers to uphold, leaving many parents out in the cold.
At present, only 11 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave.
With a lack of laws to offer support and protection for workers when they need it most, some visionary companies have stepped up to the plate to offer maternity benefits that employees can really benefit from.
Apart from Netflix, who is off the charts with unlimited parental leave in the first year, here are some other top 10 real American maternity leave heroes:
This on-line giant offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, and up to 22 if there are complications with the birth.
New moms get 17 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Reddit also provides 17 weeks of paid maternity leave.
Just like Instagram and Reddit, Facebook gives new moms 17 weeks of paid maternity leave.
PwC gives new moms 15 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.
EY, formerly Ernst and Young, offers 14 weeks of fully paid maternity leave and 22 weeks of leave in total.
Deloitte offers fully paid maternity leave for 14 weeks. In addition, they will cover up to $25,000 for fertility treatments and $5,000 in adoption costs.
KPMG offers 9 weeks of fully paid maternity leave to families.
Procter and Gamble offers 8 weeks of paid leave for new mothers.
General Mills gives new mothers 6 weeks of fully paid maternity leave.
It should be noted that while it’s impressive any company is offering paid leave, countries like Canada offer workers up to 52 weeks of paid leave, if they have worked the required number of hours in the year leading up to the birth or adoption of a child.
It’s nice to be with your child for the first year of their life- they get to know you fully and parents get a chance to catch their breath and heal. Children will be in institutionalized care for the next 18 years, once they reach the age of 5.
It seems to this writer that 1 year of family time isn’t too much to ask.