U.S. Lags on Paid Leave, Heymann Says

The New York Times spoke to Jody Heymann, a UCLA distinguished professor of public health, public policy and medicine, about access to family and medical leave. Congressional Democrats are proposing four weeks of paid leave, down from 12 weeks initially sought in their spending plan. If the plan becomes law, the United States will no longer be one of six countries in the world without any form of national paid leave. However, it would still be an outlier. Of the 174 countries that offer paid leave for a personal health problem, just 26 offer four weeks or fewer, according to data from UCLA’s World Policy Analysis Center, which Heymann directs. “When you look at other countries, there is evidence of what people need and what’s feasible,” Heymann said. “And by both of those measures, 12 weeks is a modest amount, and anything less is grossly inadequate. The rest of the world, including low-income countries, has found a way to do this.”


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