Poll: Would Paid Leave Keep Women Healthier?


For some women, maternity leave is just too costly. Do you think paid leave programs would keep your pregnant and postpartum patients healthier?

In Germany, women get 14 weeks of paid family and medical leave. In the United States, women get no paid leave. What US men and women do get is the Family and Medical Leave Act, which guarantees unpaid, job-protected leave for men and women to care for their newborn or newly adopted children, seriously ill family members, or their own health needs. However, many workers are unable to take unpaid time off because they can't afford to do so.

In recent years, a few states have implemented paid leave programs to ensure that workers have the economic security to meet their families' needs. According to the Department of Labor, paid leave programs have been shown to improve health outcomes for children, ill adults, and seniors; reduce turnover and increase employee retention, which cuts down on training costs for businesses; keep workers attached to the labor force; and boost earnings over time.

As front-line clinicians for women who use FMLA for maternity leave, do you think paid leave would play a significant role in keeping women healthier?

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