Providing new parents with the opportunity to care for a child benefits everyone involved. The first weeks and months of a child’s life are critical to development.
Because of the important role of parents in this early period, paid family leave can have effects on relationship-building, parental involvement, health and well-being that last throughout a child’s life. However, very few employees in North Carolina have access to paid family and medical leave, and in many cases, those who receive unpaid leave cannot afford to take it.
When parents don’t have paid leave, they often face challenges in finding child care options and are forced to choose between taking unpaid leave that they can’t afford or leaving their baby in an unstable child care situation. Furthermore, paid family and medical leave has been shown to have positive health and economic impacts for both parents and children, including improved birth outcomes, reduced child maltreatment rates and consistent employment. The benefits of paid family and medical leave have long-lasting impacts for children and families.
Key Things to Know:
- 1 in 4 mothers returns to work within 2 weeks of giving birth.
- 10 weeks of paid leave is associated with a 10% reduction in infant mortality. The infant mortality rate in NC is is 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, higher than the national average and disproportionately impacting babies of color. The infant mortality rate for Black babies is nearly 3 times higher than for white babies.
- Only 12% of employees in North Carolina have access to paid leave.