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Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States

This briefing paper summarizes employees’ legal rights in relation to pregnancy, childbirth and adoption, and nursing breaks, and examines how far employers are voluntarily moving to provide paid parental leave beyond basic legal rights. It draws on three data sources: leave benefits offered by Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies,” the Family and Medical Leave Act in 2012 Survey, and the National Compensation Survey.

Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave in the United States

The United States is among a very small number of countries in the world without a statutory right to paid maternity leave for employees. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s (IWPR) analysis of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies” finds that almost all of the top companies provide some paid maternity leave and, between 2006 and 2010, these employers dramatically expanded coverage for paternity and adoptive parent leave.

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