Employers in the U.S. do not have to give new mothers or fathers any paid time off, and a large majority of people want that to change.
Eight in 10 people think mothers should be given paid time off after both giving birth to a child or adopting one, according to a new study by Pew Research Center. About seven in 10 people say the same for fathers.
People thought mothers should be guaranteed a median of about two months off, while fathers deserved about one month.
However, those people did not want that money coming from the government. Only 21 percent said state or federal government should cover the cost of paid maternity leave, with 61 percent saying employers should cover those costs. Those numbers were even lower for fathers taking leave.
American women on average are waiting until later in life to have children than they used to, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While a decrease in teen birth rates between 2000 and 2014 partially explains the age average increase, in 2014 all age groups 25 and older had a higher proportion of births than in 2000. The age group of 30 to 34 had increased the most, from 16.5 percent to 21.1 percent.
The issue of paid leave has become attractive across the political spectrum. President Donald Trump proposed during his campaign that new mothers could receive unemployment benefits for six weeks after giving birth if their employers did not provide paid leave, while Hillary Clinton proposed mandating new mothers receive at least two-thirds of their wages from their employers for 12 weeks.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., introduced a bill to Congress earlier this year that was similar to Clinton’s proposal – it offers two-thirds of an employee’s wage in paid family leave for 12 weeks, and would be funded by employer and employee payroll contributions. Family leave could be used to care for a new child, a family medical emergency or a serious personal injury.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., called on Trump to support the bill last week, but he has not weighed in on the bill.
Trump transition officials had a call with members of the House Ways and Means Committee in January saying they wanted childcare reform to be included in broad tax reform. Their proposals included a childcare tax credit and six weeks of maternity leave protection, according to CNN.