Back To Career News

Unlike Just About Every Other Country, The U.S. Offers Zero Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave


What do Pakistan, Venezuela, and South Africa have in common? They, like 172 other nations, offer some paid maternity leave, according to a recent report in ThinkProgress. That distinguishes them from the U.S., which offers zero weeks.

Yes, that's right, zero weeks of paid maternity leave. "But wait," you say. "That can't be right. My friend's friend's wife's cousin got like three months off when she had a baby."

Your friend several times removed works for an excellent company. Pretty much the only legal requirements regarding maternity leave in the United States are that companies allow new mothers to take three months off, unpaid, when they have a child. This is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act, and it only applies to organizations with more than 50 employees.

Last year, only 11 percent of private sector and 17 percent of public sector workers reported having paid maternity leave. Only half of first-time mothers reported being able to take time off when they gave birth.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Where's the best place to live for new moms? Get ready to sing, "Oh Canada," because our neighbors to the north offer a whopping 50 weeks of maternity leave. Next up is Norway, with 44 weeks, and Italy, with 22 weeks of paid leave.

Of the 178 countries examined in the report, 50 offered paid leave for fathers, as well. Needless to say, the U.S. wasn't one of them.

More From PayScale

Is a Mom Really Worth Over $100,000 a Year?

5 Ways Job Costs Can Eat Up Your Paycheck

What "Percent" Is Your Household?


(Photo Credit: Mike "Dakinewavamon" Kline/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.