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Best states for maternity leave

  • Best States for maternity leave

    All eyes have been on the American Supreme Court in the past few weeks, as the country watches the appointment process for a judge who could tip the balances into overturning Roe v. Wade. Motherhood is once again up for debate: What responsibilities does a woman have to her potential future child?

    Yet motherhood only begins with the decision to give birth. It extends through a nine-month pregnancy, the first couple of years of intense care, and further years after that. The early periods of a child’s life are particularly arduous as new parents must take care of food, sleep, changing diapers, and so many other basic needs of their children.

    Raising a child is a significant responsibility for all parents, regardless of who those parents are, but it can be particularly challenging for parents in the workforce. Some parents can rely on supportive policies, including paid maternity leave, flexible sick days, and unemployment insurance modernization. Other parents are largely on their own, forced to take time out of the jobs upon which they rely for survival in order to take care of their children. America as a whole has been criticized for poor protections for working mothers, compared to other similarly developed countries.

    In order to evaluate the best places in the country to be a working parent, Stacker turned to the National Partnership for Women and Families’ “Raising Expectations” report. National Partnership performed a comprehensive analysis of state policies supporting working parents before and after the arrival of a new child. Each state was scored and given a grade from A to F; the score is based on protections that state provides for private sector and public employees (with private sector protections weighted more heavily).

    This report specifically compares each states’ policies to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, which protects employees in taking unpaid, job-protected leave for specific family and medical reasons, including the birth of a child and caring for spouses, children, or parents with serious health conditions. In this study, National Partnership found that 25 of 50 states have done “little or nothing” to supplement the baseline protections set out in FMLA. Only six states earned a grade of “A” or “A-,” and not a single state earns a grade of “A+.”

    Read on to find out how your state scores—if you have a child or an emerging health issue, how are you protected?

    ALSO: Best and worst states for working dads

  • Alabama: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Job-protected parental leave
    —State workers: Job-protected parental leave, flexible use of sick time

  • Idaho: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Unemployment insurance modernization
    —State workers: Job-protected parental leave, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization

  • Michigan: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: None
    —State workers: Flexible use of sick time

  • Mississippi: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Job-protected family and medical leave, job-protected parental leave, paid sick days
    —State workers: Job-protected family leave, job-protected pregnancy and parental leave, job-protected adoption leave, flexible use of sick time

  • Nebraska: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: None
    —State workers: Paid disability/maternity leave, paid family leave, paid parental leave

  • North Dakota: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Paid family and medical leave (to take effect Jan. 1, 2019 with benefits payable beginning on Jan. 1, 2020), job-protected family leave, job-protected medical leave for pregnancy disability, paid sick days, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization
    —State workers: Paid family and medical leave, job-protected family and medical leave, job-protected parental leave, job-protected pregnancy disability leave, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization

  • South Dakota: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: None
    —State workers: Job-protected family leave, flexible use of sick time

  • Utah: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Job-protected family and medical leave, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization
    —State workers: Job-protected parental leave, job-protpected family and medical leave, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization

  • Wyoming: F

    Points awarded: 0

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: None
    —State workers: Flexible use of sick time

  • Nevada: D-

    Points awarded: 5

    Additional protections provided beyond the FMLA:
    —Private sector workers: Job-protected family and medical leave, paid sick days, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization
    —State workers: Job-protected family and medical leave, flexible use of sick time, unemployment insurance modernization

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