Consumer / Employer

KFF: Many Women Don’t Receive Paid Parental Leave Benefit From Employers

Fewer than half of female workers receive a paid parental leave benefit from their employer, including maternity leave (43%) and family and medical leave to care for a sick family member (44%), according to KFF.

Fewer than half of female workers receive a paid parental leave benefit from their employer, a recent report showed. This includes maternity leave (43%) and family and medical leave to care for a sick family member (44%).

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) report comes from the 2022 KFF Women’s Health Survey, which focused on contraception, barriers to accessing care and reproductive health. It includes responses from 5,201 females and 1,241 males and was conducted from May 10 to June 7.

The survey found that 63% of women receive paid sick leave from their employers. Additionally, only 7% have on-site childcare or childcare subsidies.

These statistics vary based on employment status, income, location and education, KFF found. For example, 73% of full-time working women receive paid sick leave, compared to 31% of those working part-time. Additionally, almost half of high-income employed women receive paid family and medical leave, compared to 33% of low-income working women.

The survey findings are troubling considering many women are the primary caregivers when their kids are sick, KFF reported. About 19% of working fathers take care of their kids when they are ill and are unable to go to school, compared to 56% of working mothers. This is slightly different when broken down by income: 61% of women with low income take care of their kids when they’re sick, compared to 53% of women with high income. 

“Workplace benefits play an important role in parents’ ability to care for their family’s health care needs while meeting workplace responsibilities,” KFF said in the report. “When children have to miss school because they are too sick to attend, working parents must arrange care for their children.”

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That said, a larger share of fathers (19%) said they take on this caregiving role in 2022 than they did in 2020 (9%). Still, women are the majority.

“The increase in people working from home since the pandemic’s start could have contributed to a change in the distribution of parental health care responsibilities, but it is too early to tell whether this trend will continue in the years to come,” KFF said.

Missing work to care for sick kids can affect many people financially, causing 73% of women with low income to miss out on pay. Meanwhile, only 38% of high income mothers lose pay.

“For many working parents who lack paid leave benefits, caring for kids because they are sick and cannot go to school comes with an economic cost, and many of these costs are borne by working women,” KFF stated. “For some women, the system is largely working though is still challenging, but for those who are in low-wage jobs or work part-time hours, caring for their family’s health without workplace support can weaken their own and their family’s financial well-being.”

Photo: Courtney Hale, Getty Images