Most American women would lose savings after 8 weeks of unpaid maternity leave: survey – The Hill

The story at a glance


  • The survey found that people were willing to trade some employer benefits for paid maternity leave.

  • More than half of participants said they would take out a personal loan to cover expenses, while others said they would dip into their retirement savings.

  • The vast majority of respondents support a federal government intervention that would provide paid maternity leave.

The United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that does not guarantee paid maternity leave for her mothers. Often, policies differ based on state laws or employer insurance coverage.

Now, a new survey of 1,000 employed women aged 18-44 has found nearly 75% would run out of savings after eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave, while more than half would consider taking out a personal loan. to cover the cost of maternity leave.

The survey was conducted by Broken, a company that buys and sells personalized disability insurance. He also revealed that nearly half of women would consider dipping into their retirement account under this scenario. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they would take a 5% pay cut for their employer to offer paid maternity leave.

According to the authors, a potential solution could be short-term disability insurance for pregnancy, although many respondents were unaware of this option.

The survey was conducted online between July 6 and July 7, 2022.


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When asked about the importance to employers of providing paid maternity leave, survey respondents on average ranked this benefit as very important. To better understand what female employees would give up to access employer-sponsored maternity leave, 20% said they would be willing to take a 10% pay cut. Thirty per cent would forego vision insurance for this benefit while almost 40 per cent would work ten extra hours a week, underlining the priority women place on paid maternity leave.

However, the authors emphasized that the data collected “is not intended to suggest that employers may reduce a benefit in exchange for paid maternity leave.

“We are not suggesting that companies reduce health insurance or wages, but rather try to highlight the value of offering paid maternity leave by comparing it to other standard and relevant benefits,” the authors wrote. survey authors.

Almost all of the women surveyed (89%) also said they felt the federal government should provide some form of paid maternity leave program.

Recent data has highlighted the financial cost of childbirth in the United States. According to Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, when pregnant, women incur about $19,000 in additional pregnancy-related costs compared to their non-pregnant counterparts, while on average, about $16,000 is covered by insurance. That leaves new mothers with an average fee of around $2,800.

Posted on August 02, 2022

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