Working Mothers in the U.S.

The plight of the working mother is something near and dear to me, for obvious reasons.

So often, we think of this subject in terms of our own lives and our own selves, but we have serious national issues to consider. While more women are present in the workforce and responsible for contributing to (or are solely responsible for) their household’s income, federal legislation and company policies are behind the times. It is still prevalent in our society that women are basically punished in the workplace for being mothers. Often times, we must choose to stalemate our careers to focus on our families, or sacrifice the type of mother we wish to be for the betterment, or simple maintaining of our careers. When FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) was passed during the Clinton administration in 1993, it was long overdue. However, FMLA only protects your job while you are on leave – that leave is unpaid. In addition to that, it is only enforceable if a company has 50 or more employees ( There are 3 states in the U.S. that have paid family leave programs: California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. The other 47 states leave the decision-making to the employers.

For a country like the U.S. that loves to wax poetic about family values, it is rather interesting that paid leave is such a polarizing and controversial topic. The 3 states in the U.S. that have implemented a paid leave program have done so successfully, with very minimal costs in regards to employee contributions. And leave programs are not just for mothers, either: 1 in 4 U.S. workers have taken leave to care for a seriously ill family member (

The below infographic tells a story. We have seen great changes in the landscape of the U.S. workforce over the last 50 years, but we are still behind in both our viewpoints and our federal legislation. We should not be ashamed or afraid to take time off to bond with our children. Chances are, we may need to have surgery, recover from an illness, or care for a seriously ill family member at some point during our working adult lives. We should not have to fear negative consequences if we do.


What are your thoughts on paid family leave? What did the above infographic say to you, if anything? I would love to hear your comments, but let us please keep them respectful.

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