Not Fair! Better-Educated Moms Get More Paid Maternity Leave

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows a link between paid maternity leave and education levels.

You’d think that the act of making a person and delivering him safely into the world would automatically earn all new moms -- at the very least -- a few paid weeks off of work, wouldn’t you? Well, a sad but not so shocking study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that while the percentage of women who receive paid maternity leave is at a record high, the numbers are directly related to education level.

Specifically, just over 16 percent of women with less than a high-school diploma got paid leave, while more than 64 percent of those with at least a college degree received the perk. Disturbingly, a poll conducted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR) found that in California (one of three states with a paid family leave act, along with New Jersey and Washington), the families most in need of financial assistance to take time off are the least likely to be aware of the programs that offer it.

What’s interesting is that as recently as the 1960s, lower education levels actually increased a new mom’s odds of continuing to take home a paycheck in the wake of delivery. Since women are responsible for populating the planet (attention employers: with tomorrow’s workforce) regardless of where or how they make a living, it seems to me that having six weeks to recover and bond with your baby is the least we can give them. Am I right?

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