Maternity Leave — Unions Help You Get It!

Infographic: Paid parental leave varies by country

Labor Unions Help Employees Take More Paid Maternity Leave

Union-represented working mothers are at least 17 percent more likely to use paid maternity leave than comparable nonunion working mothers

Facilitating working mothers’ use of paid maternity leave is a key issue for policymakers and workers in many countries. And the United States is far behind in this global movement; the United States is the only industrialized nation that lacks universal paid leave for new parents, although there are now a very small number of state-based programs and many employer-provided plans.
Park, in new research to be published in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review, breaks down the leave-taking decision into four key steps:“Simply enacting or offering a paid parental leave plan does not automatically mean that workers will take a leave. So we need to better understand the factors that prevent workers from taking a leave, and ways to reduce these barriers,” says Tae-Youn Park, Assistant Professor of Management and Brownlee O. Curry Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellow at the Owen Graduate School of Management. “One of the challenges with research into these issues, however, is that the decision to take leave is very complex.”

  • Availability: The policy needs to be available,
  • Awareness: the worker needs to be aware of it,
  • Affordability: the worker needs to believe she can afford to take a leave, and
  • Assurance: the worker needs to have implicit or explicit assurances that taking paid leave is unlikely to result in negative consequences.

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