happy familyA new national report card, released by the National Partnership for Women Families, has graded each U.S. state and Washington, D.C. on the quality of their laws in providing access to maternity and paternity leave to new parents. The study resulted in the allocation of only two As granted to California and Connecticut. The high marks spring from the fact that California is the first state to make paid leave access a legal obligation to new parents while Connecticut has a state-wide law mandating paid sick days.

The U.S. currently has no federal law providing paid leave for new parents tending to the care of newborn children though the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does provide unpaid leave in order to protect the jobs of new mothers and fathers. Comparatively, 178 countries have laws guaranteeing parental leave for new mothers and 54 provide similar requirements for new fathers.

The results of the study do not bode well for the nation regarding leave laws in that 34 states received a grade of D or lower. States scoring Bs including D.C., New Jersey, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Maine, New York, and Illinois. States receiving a mediocre C grade include Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Montana. Summaries of the family leave laws of each state are available at NationalPartnership.org.

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