Giving Compass' Take:

• Maya Rossin-Slater and Jenna Stearns offer possible solutions to the United States' shortcomings in supporting paid leave for workers.

• Why are private employers afraid of lenient paid leave policies? How might legal changes have deeper intergenerational impacts? How can you support the battle to improve worker welfare?

• Learn about past and present failures in United States legislation to support paid leave.

Many U.S. workers have caregiving responsibilities for infants and small children, as well as parents and other older relatives, which means the lack of paid family leave at most low- and moderate-income jobs exacerbates inequality.

Paid leave can help employees balance the competing needs of work and family by allowing for partial wage replacement to care for newborn or newly adopted children or ill family members while improving job continuity for caretakers.

Paid parental leave at the state and local level improves child health and development and maternal well-being while causing minimal negative impacts on employers, and paid leave at the federal level could help children from all backgrounds, curb the growth in inequality, and boost long-term U.S. economic growth and stability.

Paid family leave could impact workers’ subsequent labor market outcomes such as employment and wages in several different ways. Because paid leave increases the time parents spend away from work, it could lead to a loss of job-specific skills and make re-entry into the labor market more difficult. Yet the availability of paid family leave, particularly when job protection is available, may reduce the probability that new parents quit their jobs upon the birth of a child. This could have a positive effect on job continuity and future earnings.

Finally, a growing body of evidence underscores that rising economic inequality and persistent intergenerational transmission of low socioeconomic status in the United States are perpetuated through disparities in early childhood circumstances. The current research suggests that a federal paid family leave policy could level the playing field for children from all backgrounds and help curb the growth in inequality and boost long-term U.S. economic growth and stability.

Read the full article about the benefits of paid leave policies by Maya Rossin-Slater and Jenna Stearns at Equitable Growth.