Why is paid leave still a partisan issue?
In this highly charged political atmosphere, its worth asking why is paid leave still a partisan issue? Or better yet, why is it still an issue at all?
Paid leave is good for mothers. Women who get paid time off are able to recover from childbirth both physically and mentally. On average, women who take 12 weeks or longer of leave reported less depressive symptoms – that leads to happier and healthier mothers.
Paid leave is good for fathers. Men who take time off with newborns are more involved in both childcare and other household responsibilities than those who do not, meaning paternity leave improves the father-child relationship.
Paid leave is good for children. Paid leave reduces infant mortality by at least 10% and mortality for children under 5 by 9%. Women with paid leave breastfeed twice as long as those without on average, and babies who are breastfed are less likely to get a variety of infections and are at lower risk for obesity and sudden infant death syndrome. Paid leave also increases the chances that infants attend well-baby care visits and get vaccinations on time.
Paid leave is good for companies, which is good for the economy. Paid leave reduces expensive employee turnover and raises the possibility of mothers returning to work, working more hours and receiving higher wages.
These are just a handful of the benefits of paid leave and the research associated with it. So if paid leave helps everyone involved – why is it still an issue? Why are we still the only developed country without it? And why aren’t more companies giving the one benefit that helps both themselves and their employees? We don’t know but we will keep helping everyone get smarter on leave until its no longer an issue.