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"US Is Only Industrialized Nation Without Paid Maternity Leave"

ABC News cites WORLD Policy Analysis Center data in a news story about how the U.S. is the world’s only high-income country in which mothers are not ensured paid leave to care for their newborn children.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
pregnant woman's torso with hands on belly in shape of heart

In time for Mother's Day, advocates for paid family leave are reminding people that the U.S. is only one of three countries in the world that don't offer paid maternity leave and may faces negative consequences without statutory paid family leave. The other two countries are Papua New Guinea and Suriname.

A Better Balance, a New York-based national legal advocacy group that promotes workplace fairness for families, released a report today titled "Investing in Our Families: The Case for Paid Family Leave in New York and the Nation."

"For workers without paid family leave, taking time off to care for a new baby or a seriously ill loved one can have devastating long-term financial consequences, ranging from racking up credit card debt to raiding savings to bankruptcy," Dina Bakst, co-founder and co-president of A Better Balance, told ABC News. "Paid family leave would provide a critical safety net for these working families in their times of need.”

The United Nations' International Labour Organization said last year that out of the 185 countries and territories with available data, all but three provide cash benefits to women during maternity leave. OmanPapua New Guinea and the United States provide some form of maternity leave but have no overall law for cash benefits.

Since then, Oman established paid maternity leave, the World Bank reports; while the World Policy Analysis Center reports that Suriname, which did not have data available for the U.N. report, does not. The World Policy Analysis Center also notes five small Pacific Island states don't offer paid maternity leave: Marshall Islands, Micronesia, NauruPalau, and Tonga.

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