While paid maternity leave might be considered as a benefit for the new mother and the infant, it has more profound impacts. Without any exaggeration, we can quote the famous theory of the then-first lady,
“Women’s issues are economic issues, and economic issues are women’s issues.”
The US is one of the most developed economies, and until a few decades, it was a leader in women’s workforce. But, as per 2017, only 75 percent of the labor force is women vs. 77.5 percent in Japan. According to a Pew Research Center survey; it has been found, “79 percent of women with minor children would like to be working at least part-time as of 2012, whereas only 68 percent were employed in the latest Labor Department data.”
According to the US law companies are not bound to give their employees paid parental leave of any kind. If we refer to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, we will find that though it speaks about unpaid leave of 12 weeks for new parents, it doesn't mention anything about paid leaves. However, as per OECD, if compared with the global market and more specifically with the developed countries of the world, US is not only an outlier but it ranks last when it comes providing secured, paid leave for mothers of the newborns.
Policies related to maternity leave is mostly associated with gender equality, feminism, personal fulfillment, and family bonding. Nevertheless, its impact on the economy cannot be denied, and thus, it has been a matter of concern and discussion time and again.
Here’s how it affects the economy
Parity between the working force and retirees
With a huge percentage of female employees moving out of the workforce; the share of contribution to the economy’s income is decreasing as compared to the responsibilities of the state on the retired consumers. And, if it continues in this way it is bound to affect the growth of the United States economy over the years to come.
Enhance the percentage of working women
Most of the women have to quit their jobs because they are not eligible for any paid maternity leaves, and even if they are it is just for 12 weeks, which is no way sufficient for a new born baby. On the other hand, the quality and the cost of daycares are also not worth opting for.
Affects the productivity
A woman coming back from maternity leave, after spending quality time with her infant is a much focused and happy employee than the one who has to leave her new born under the care of someone else for sustaining her job. Google VP Lazlo Bock wrote in his book on business, Work Rules!
"The cost of having a mom out of the office for an extra couple of months was more than offset by the value of retaining her expertise and avoiding the cost of finding and training a new hire,"
Keeps the family financially stable
With the rise in the cost of bringing up a child, when the mother is either compelled to quit the job or join back in absence of paid leave, the income of the family is disturbed. To suffice the needs, they initially start using credits and eventually resort to public aid. A Joint Economic Committee report by the United States Congress found that women who return to work after taking maternity leave are 40 percent less likely to receive public assistance in the year after giving birth, compared to women who continue to operate without taking leave.
Healthier and happier children
The first few years are crucial for a child, and they play a pivotal role in shaping up a person. A happy childhood spent with the mother has long term benefits; it ensures that the emotional and intelligence quotients of the kids are high and they are a more successful earner in their adulthood.
Paid leave improvises the employment-to-population ratios for women and also helps them to continue with the jobs that match their capabilities and where they have developed their skills, which in turn increases the overall productivity of the economy.
READ NEXT: New Born Baby Delivered With Single Tooth