Paid Maternity Leave: Inside The Debate and What It Means for Your Business

There’s a huge debate regarding paid maternity leave right now. Paid maternity leave is something that many businesses are offering, but there are still a number of problems regarding it.

 For example, many women are often unable to advance their careers after having children, and a considerable number of businesses have no provisions for mothers who need to work flexible schedules. If they need to purchase the latest baby gadgets for the home, or they have to communicate with the babysitter, they can’t due to their work obligations. This is wrong.

As a businessperson, you need to think about what you can do to help your female workers when it comes to paid maternity leave.

Is Paid Maternity Leave a Legal Requirement?

The United States differs from practically every other industrialized nation in that it offers no provision for paid maternity leave. There is no legal requirement to offer paid maternity leave. All you have to do to fulfill your responsibilities is to offer 12 weeks of unprotected maternity leave.

In some states, there are other provisions you may have to fulfill, but you need to inspect the laws of your state. Some can vary radically, such as fourteen states that mandate firms with more than 10 employees now have to follow Federal direction when it comes to providing benefits to new mothers.

But that doesn’t mean you should stick to the law as it says. You should do more. 

Attracting the Best Talent 

A lot of the best talent available today comes from women. By not offering family friendly benefits to your female employees, you are turning the best talent away. If you don’t offer a better deal, they will go somewhere that will. The cost of employing someone to take over temporarily is far outweighed by the benefits of having star talent on your team.

It Can Improve Morale

Allowing a flexible schedule so a mother can leave at short notice to deal with a child emergency or to run some errands can do a lot for company morale. You want your team to care about the company and to give their all.

Forget about getting the best from your team if you don’t give back as much as they give you. Offering extra maternity benefits to make the lives of new mothers easier can do a lot for your business.

The Next Generation of Workers

Millennials now make up the biggest part of the workforce. They are a new breed of workers. Less loyal than any other generation, they will happily go to another company if they believe that they are going to get a better deal. This is not about retaining your best talent, although this is a part of it, this is about allowing your business to function.

Extra maternity benefits have become the norm, and it’s got to the point where people expect it.


As you can see, your legal obligations regarding maternity leave are little. But that doesn’t mean you should offer the minimum. Going the extra mile can bring your business a huge number of benefits.

What are your opinions on the paid maternity leave debate and what it means for businesses across the United States?