How supportive is your state of working moms and dads with a baby or one on the way? Chances are, not very. A new state-by-state analysis gives 27 states a “D” or “F” for failing to pass laws that help new and expectant parents in the workplace.
The National Partnership for Women & Families, a nonprofit advocacy group, released its fourth edition of “Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws that Help Expecting and New Parents” this week. The report assigns a grade to each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on whether the state has passed laws that offer better paid family leave or workplace protections than what federal law already provides.
The release of the report coincides with the 23rd anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the federal law that gives eligible workers the right to take 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to care for their children or other family members. (Wondering what your maternity leave looks like? Here’s a checklist of questions to ask HR.)
In the decades since FMLA was enacted, some states have put together new policies that protect working parents, like paid sick days laws, paid family leave laws and laws that guarantee pregnant workers reasonable workplace accommodations. Other states, however, haven’t made much progress. Looking at the report card, 13 states (including the District of Columbia) got grades of “B” or higher. But falling to the bottom of the class were the 10 states that earned a “C,” 15 states that got a “D,” and 12 states that flat-out flunked for not enacting a single workplace policy to help expecting or new parents.
“Despite some meaningful progress, too many working families in this country struggle at the very time they should be focused on giving children their best possible starts in life,” says Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership. “At this time when women are both caregivers and breadwinners, and when voters want and need supportive workplace policies, too many lawmakers are letting them down. America’s families expect and deserve much better.” (Fun fact: Women make up nearly half of the country’s workforce, and 68 percent of children live in households with parents who all work.)
The Best States
District of Columbia
The Average States
The Worst States