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"The World ‘Has Found a Way to Do This’: The U.S. Lags on Paid Leave"

The New York Times interviewed Dr. Jody Heymann, a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy, and medicine, about access to sick leave, both paid and unpaid, and the current effort by conservatives in the U.S. Congress to cut a proposed benefit from 12 weeks to four

Monday, October 25, 2021

Congress is now considering four weeks of paid family and medical leave, down from the 12 weeks that were initially proposed in the Democrats’ spending plan. If the plan becomes law, the United States will no longer be one of six countries in the world — and the only rich country — without any form of national paid leave.

But it would still be an outlier. Of the 185 countries that offer paid leave for new mothers, only one, Eswatini (once called Swaziland), offers fewer than four weeks. Of the 174 countries that offer paid leave for a personal health problem, just 26 offer four weeks or fewer, according to data from the World Policy Analysis Center at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Four weeks would also be significantly less than the 12 weeks of paid parental leave given to federal workers in the United States, and less than the leave that has been passed in nine states and the District of Columbia.