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Number Of Maternity Leaves Stagnant But Number Of Paternity Leaves On The Rise?

First Posted: Jan 27, 2017 03:40 AM EST

Maternity leave is a necessity for all working women. It gives respite from the daily work stress and helps the expectant mothers to prepare for the upcoming change, both physically and mentally. With the steep increase in the number of working women in the last two decades, it is expected that the number of maternity leaves should also increase in a similar fashion. However, a recent study revealed something different.

It was found that the number of women taking maternity leaves now and before, two decades ago, is almost similar. This indicates that many expectant mothers are letting go of the maternity leave. The reason behind is that more than 50 percent of the organizations provide unpaid maternity leaves. It was also observed that those women who did opt for the leave policy were from well-to-do families and had no or less economic constraints, News Nation reported.

The study that was done by the researchers at Ohio State University was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Nationwide survey across the United States of America showed that averagely, 273,000 expecting women took maternity leave each month in 1994. Surprisingly, the same figure was observed in the year 2015. Instead, there was a steep increase in the number of men who took paternity leave, The Health Site reported.

Lead researcher of the study, Jay Zagorsky, said, "Given the growing economy and the new state laws, I expected to see an increasing number of women taking maternity leave." However, "There's a lot of research that shows the benefits of allowing parents, especially mothers, to spend time with newborn children. Unfortunately, the number of women who receive those benefits has stagnated."

The U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey data indicate that the U.S. federal government's Family and Medical Leave Act allows 12 weeks of leave for the mothers in the first 12 months following the birth of a baby. However, the study revealed that only 47.5 percent of women were compensated in 2015. Though the provision of paid maternity leave is gradually increasing, the rate of increase is only 0.26 percent per year.

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