Inasmuch as the U.S. likes to consider itself a good ol’ fashioned family-oriented, home-comes-first kind of country, statistics have a little trouble matching up to that claim. A lot of trouble, in fact. The National Partnership for Women & Families has released a new report that grades each state according to laws and resources benefitting new parents including paid parental leave, paid sick days, and accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. And it ain’t pretty. Like a kid who swore she studied for a test and then bombed the thing in its entirety, we did really, really poorly as a country.
Only two states—California and Connecticut—earned an “A.” So if you’re not basking in the parental rights of the Golden State or enjoying the freedoms up in the Constitution State, good luck to ya. You’re nine times more likely to live somewhere that got a big, fat “F” for doing zippo to help new, working mothers. (Well, new, working parents in general but honestly, women are probably more affected for a number of reasons, not the least of them being institutionalized sexism and that biological childbirth stuff that most of us learned in fifth grade health class.)
With the bulk of the nation receiving dismal scores, including 18 outright failures, it makes renouncing U.S. citizenship look a mite more attractive for, say, France, who gives residents 22 weeks of paid leave and 296 weeks of total unpaid leave if mom or dad want to take it. Spain offers up 18 weeks of paid leave and 294 unpaid. (Heck, we don’t have that kind of job security over here even if you decide to never, ever pop out a kid.)
And so on and so forth through 21 of the most wealthy countries until you get to lucky number 20, the fine U.S. of A., who ranks next to last, trumping only Switzerland, who still manages to top us because they offer less leave, but pay 80 percent of a new parent’s salary during their time off. Better have some savings stashed away over here, that’s all I’m going to say.
According to the map generated by the National Partnership for Women & Families, though, I’m faring pretty well by living in D.C., which managed to get a “B.” Even though it’s looking pretty bleak for me having any more kids—that darn biological clock just will not wait for Mr. Right to show up—it’s a perk for folks starting families here in the District, especially considering how much other foolishness we have to tolerate as residents.
Nonetheless, it seems every state has much room for improvement when it comes to putting their support and resources where their family-love-declarin’ mouths are.
So how did your state do? What’s the one benefit that would’ve made your life easier as a new, working parent?
Image via latteda/Flickr