Maternity Leave Laws: The Best and Worst States For Working Moms

So basically, it sucks to be a working mom in America. That’s according to a new report by The National Partnership for Women & Families, which handed out “F” grades to 18 states for failing to have laws on the books that help parents, like job-protected leave, nursing rights and flexible use of sick leave.

In fact, only California and Connecticut got an “A-” grade in “Expecting Better: A State-By-State Analysis Of Laws That Help Parents,” which analyzes family leave, medical leave, pregnancy disability leave, reasonable break times and small necessities leave in considering just how supportive states are in helping moms. Not surprisingly, pretty much every state in the south, middle America and the mid-West—the very ones that talk all that “family values” mess out one side of their mouths while they tear down reproductive rights and dismantle practically every safety net program that ever existed in the history of existence for mothers and children—are the biggest dunces in America’s class, the ones that wear those “F” and “D” grades with a badge of honor.

The problem? The report’s authors say most state laws affecting working moms are stuck in the Stone Ages, even though 71 percent of America’s children live in households where all parents work, 73 percent of moms return to work within six months of giving birth and the numbers of single moms has soared—a fundamental shift in the “Leave It To Beaver” family dynamic of yore. The authors point out that while policymakers across the political spectrum have begun to embrace the need for change, there’s no consensus on how to improve existing public policy to accommodate America’s 21st century workforce—and while they diddle, the United States distinguishes itself in sharp contrast to the 178 nations that guarantee paid leave for new mothers and the 54 nations that guarantee paid leave for new dads.

It’s good to be a parent in California and Connecticut, which received grades of “A-“ for laws that give paid family leave and paid sick days laws respectively. New Jersey and the District of Columbia got “B+” grades for giving workers access to paid sick leave and paid family leave respectively. And Hawaii, Oregon and Washington received “B” grades for  expanding the Family Medical Leave Act and other family-friendly policies.

Pretty much the rest of the country sucks donkey booty when it comes to helping moms support their families after they birth the babies. To see your state’s grade for job-protected maternity leave and other laws that help working moms, check out The National Partnership For Women & Families’ map here.


1. Postponing Motherhood: Is It Possible To Build A Family and A Career?
2. {Bringing up Boogie} For Colored Girls Who Are Pregnant, Alone & Unable to See the Rainbow
3. Millionaire Ann Romney and the Fake Mommy Wars: What We Moms REALLY Want
4. Newt Gingrich to Poor Black Mothers and Children: Pick Up a Broom, Lazy Asses

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

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