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Maine Gets a B- in Helping Parents in the Workplace.

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Monday, June 23, 2014   

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine gets a B-minus in a report analyzing how each state supports – or doesn't support – new parents in terms of such things as leave time and job protection.

The report, from the National Partnership for Women and Families, acknowledges where Maine goes beyond what the federal government requires in family and pregnancy disability leave.

Maine law also defines family more broadly than federal law to include domestic partners, the children of domestic partners and cohabiting siblings.

"Well, Maine has done a lot to expand workers' rights to take an unpaid job-protected leave when a new child joins a family or when a family member is seriously ill,” says Vicki Shabo, one of the report's authors.

The report, titled "Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents," is being released to coincide with today's White House Summit on Working Families.

Shabo says some discouraging grades were handed out nationwide.

"The state with the highest grade is California, which received an A minus,” she says. “But a striking 17 states receive an F.

“They do nothing at all beyond what federal law provides to help new and expecting parents. Thirty-one states in total get a grade of D or F."

Still, Shabo says she finds reason for optimism in the report.

"Since our last report, we've seen a number of states take action to support new and expecting parents,” she says. “So there is progress on the horizon."

The group's previous report was in 2012.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is a co-sponsor of the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FAMILY Act, which would establish a national paid family and medical leave insurance program.





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