January 6, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Baltimore, MD -The practice of giving workers six weeks of paid leave to care for newborn children gained significant ground in 2015, with President Barack Obama signing an executive order allowing it for federal employees and New York, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Mo., and Austin, Texas, adopting similar policies for some municipal workers.
Some private employers, primarily financial firms and tech companies such as M&T Bank and Netflix, offer more. Many governments, however, are unable or unwilling to pay for family leave. Washington state approved a paid paternal-leave program in 2007, but has not funded it. In Maryland, legislation to give state workers six weeks failed to advance beyond preliminary stages, and a federal bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) went nowhere. The United States is “the only advanced country on earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,” Obama said in his State of the Union address last January. Currently, three states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—have paid family-leave policies. Read more