The United States is lagging when it comes to maternity leave policies.
Of the 193 countries in the United Nations, the United States is one of a handful of countries that do not have a national paid maternity or paternity leave policy.
Currently, only around 60 percent of all U.S. employees are covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The act allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave from their work without pay. The act only applies to federal, state and local government workers and companies that have 50 or more employees.
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Within the technology sector in the United States, offering paid leave for new parents has become standard practice. Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter all offer at least five months of paid leave for new parents. Large companies across the United States are starting to also implement paid parental leave policies, according to a Forbes report.
Bank of America is granting both full and part-time employees four months of paid leave after they become parents. Global consulting brand Deloitte is offering new parents four months of paid leave.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump and an adviser in his administration, has been meeting with U.S. Republican lawmakers in an effort to push for paid family leave. Trump has said that paid parental leave, and childcare cost support are priorities for her father’s administration. “Childcare is a major expense for American working families,” Trump tweeted recently, adding her father’s administration “is focused on creating policy solutions to enable them to thrive!”
Childcare costs have become a political rallying point in the U.S., as costs continue to rise across the United States. A 2016 report by the New America think-tank in Washington, DC showed that the average cost of childcare for children between birth and age four in the U.S. is $9,589 a year, which is more than the cost of in-state college tuition, which averages at $9,410.