These Are The Worst States In the U.S. For Working Parents

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
The National Partnership for Women and Families recently assigned "grades" to all 50 states and the District of Columbia, evaluating the states' capacities to care for working parents. The bad news? Over a fourth of states got an "F."

The grades were assigned by looking at what those states require beyond the Family and Medical Leave Act, a national mandate requiring that eligible employers offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees. While protected leave is important, for many working families, 12 weeks without pay is simply not feasible. Moreover, only 60% of women are even eligible for the FMLA.

Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wyoming all received an "F" for failing to support working parents beyond the requirements of FMLA. Only a handful of states received grades higher than a "C," with a mere three — California, New York, and Washington, D.C. — getting an "A" rating.

What the study makes clear is that even the best states for working families are being graded on a curve. D.C. (which got an "A-") requires paid maternity leave only for municipal workers, though it does require additional protections for pregnant employees, plus paid sick days. Currently, the U.S. is just one of two countries that doesn't offer paid federal maternity leave.

The Partnership's report says that "working people in this country simply cannot wait any longer for public policies that support expecting and new parents and their children. Demographics, economics and public demand are all converging to make it imperative that new public policies be adopted."

We couldn't agree more. It's time for a new era — one that supports working parents. (Time)
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