Source: Edward Zigler, Susan Muenchow, and Christopher J. Ruhm, Zero to Three, July 2012
Nearly 20 years after the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it is time to take stock of U.S. policy on parental leave, particularly as it affects infant care and child development. While the FMLA has certainly expanded access to job-protected leave, large sectors of the workforce are left out and, in the absence of paid leave, cannot afford to use it even if they are eligible. Time Off With Baby explores the lessons learned from the many nations that offer paid parental leave as well as from a relatively new part-paid leave policy in California. Drawing on research across the fields of maternal and child health, child development, and economics, the authors conclude that paid family leave for infant care is a wise investment. The authors see little downside to offering a modest paid leave policy for infant care and great cost to having the United States continue to be the only advanced industrialized nation without such a policy.