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MD Receives Kudos for New Laws to Help New Parents

PHOTO: Maryland received a 'C' in a new report that grades how each state supports new parents in the workplace. Photo credit Microsoft Images.
PHOTO: Maryland received a 'C' in a new report that grades how each state supports new parents in the workplace. Photo credit Microsoft Images.
June 27, 2014

BALTIMORE - Maryland received a 'C' in a new report analyzing how each state supports, or doesn't support, new parents in terms of leave time and job protection.

The grade may seem average, but the state got extra points for enacting new laws on providing reasonable accommodations and unpaid family leave.

Vicki Shabo is co-author of the report and vice president of the National Partnership for Women and Families.

"We looked at laws in each of the fifty states," explained Shabo, "around paid family leave, paid medical leave for pregnant women, unpaid leave that goes beyond what the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides, pregnancy accommodation laws, and laws to help new mothers continue to express breast milk after they go back to work."

Both state and federal laws were assessed in the report. It noted that 181 nations guarantee paid leave for new mothers, and 81 guarantee it for fathers. But the U.S. is not on the list. A proposal before Congress, the Family And Medical Insurance Leave Act, would establish a national paid family and medical-leave insurance program. Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is a co-sponsor.

According to Shabo, grade results varied around the country.

"The state with the highest grade is California, which received an 'A-'," said Shabo. "But a striking 17 states receive an 'F.' They do nothing at all, beyond what federal law provides."

The report found that about one-tenth of the workforce has access to employer paid family leave for the birth of a child.

Read the report Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents, from the National Partnership for Women & Families.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD