According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to any form of paid and medical family leave and fewer than 40 percent have access to medical leave through job-provided, short-term disability insurance.
Currently, having a baby is a leading cause of poverty spells for American families – a time when income dips below what it costs to afford the basics. Too many families go into debt to cover unpaid time away from work to welcome a new child or care for a seriously ill family member – or when a primary breadwinner is ill or injured.
Yet research suggests that access to paid family leave can affect breastfeeding rates and duration, reduce the risk of infant mortality, increase parental-child bonds, stimulate positive neurological and psycho-social development in children, and increase the likelihood of infants receiving well-baby care and vaccinations.
It’s time for families to benefit from paid family and medical leave.