When it comes to paid family leave, the U.S. lags behind much of the world

March 8, 2011

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(Getty Images/Ethan Miller)
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act covers only about half the U.S. workforce and guarantees just unpaid leave.

For International Women’s Day, we take a look at how the U.S. compares to other countries when it comes to family leave programs. According to a recent report from Human Rights Watch, at least 178 countries have national laws that guarantee paid leave for new mothers. More than 50 also guarantee paid leave for new fathers. But the United States, along with Papua New Guinea and Swaziland, has no legally guaranteed paid maternity leave. We’ll talk with Janet Gornick, a professor of political science at the City University of New York. She’s the author of the study “Parental Leave Policies in 21 Countries; Assessing Generosity and Gender Equality.”