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Opinion | "The Hidden Costs of Life Without Paid Family Medical Leave"

The Hill published a commentary by Dr. Jody Heymann, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health distinguished professor of health policy and management and founding director of the Fielding School's WORLD Policy Analysis Center, and Aleta Sprague, an attorney and senior legal analyst at WORLD, about the returns on investment in paid leave

Monday, November 8, 2021

With the Senate the next to consider paid leave, opponents are still saying it’s too expensive. Yet as our data shows, nearly every country — 186 — provides paid leave to new mothers, the majority provide paid leave to fathers, and 181 countries guarantee paid sick leave nationally.

If paid leave is so unaffordable, how are all the other countries paying for it?

The first part of the answer is it costs far less than other social programs. Given that paid leave covers just a few months at a time over the life course, its affordability should come as little surprise. The U.S. has long shown it’s feasible to fund decades of retirement, and these investments have been both highly impactful and remarkably popular. Paid leave, which is supported by over 80 percent of Americans, would be no different.