State-Supported Family and Medical Leave in the U.S.

Most developed countries across the globe have a national policy that provides employees with paid time off to care for and bond with their children and for medical reasons. However, the U.S. does not have such a policy and it is the only country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which does not offer family and medical leave (Rossin-Slater & Uniat, 2019). This paper compares the U.S. with other countries in the provision of state-supported leave to determine its efficacy in offering these benefits.

Many Americans cannot effectively take time off based on the terms of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While some private employers are willing to offer parental leave, many citizens do not enjoy this benefit (Rossin-Slater & Uniat, 2019). The U.S. is lagging behind other developed countries in state-supported family and medical leave. Out of 35 OECD countries, only the U.S. denies new mothers paid leave, and is one of the 8 countries in which fathers do not get paternity leave (Rossin-Slater & Uniat, 2019). What this implies is that the FMLA prevents Americans from having sufficient time to handle medial needs and care for their new families.

On the one hand, many nations offer extensive family and medical leave opportunities for their citizens. Among the countries that offer parental leave, Sweden is exceptional, with both parents granted the opportunity to obtain all-inclusive leave (Campbell, 2019). Also, Canada offers up to 6 weeks of medical leave for its workers, Sweden 100 days, while France has 21 days (Donovan, 2019). On the other hand, an American government policy offering employee leave is non-existent (Campbell, 2019). Other nations thus appear to offer better benefits than the U.S.

Workplace benefits are an important part of balancing work, family, and medical needs. Benefits such as family and sick leave help employees to meet their personal and family healthcare needs while they still fulfill their work responsibilities. However, the U.S. does not offer state-supported medical and family leave unlike other countries, and this creates challenges for employees in fulfilling their employment and family duties effectively. Ultimately, the U.S. needs to improve its leave policies to ensure that employees’ wellbeing is maintained so that workers receive time off for family and medical emergencies.

References

Campbell, M. (2019). Family leave: Comparing the United States’ Family and Medical Leave Act with Sweden’s parental leave policy. Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law, 9(2). Web.

Donovan, S.A. (2019). Paid family leave in the United States. Congressional Research Service.

Rossin-Slater, M., & Uniat, L. (2019). Paid family leave policies and population health. Health Affairs Health Policy Brief. Web.