Only 4 Percent of the Lowest-Wage Workers Get Paid Family Leave: Could a New Law Change This? (December 12, 2013)

By Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, YES! Magazine

“Our employees are like family.” It’s a sentiment employers often espouse—and some readers may dismiss it as a cliché: After all, many U.S. workers—particularly lower-wage workers—face dismal conditions, especially when it comes to policies that help them care for their families.

Few American workers are able to take paid leave when they must care for a sick family member or new baby; only 12 percent of private-sector workers currently have paid family leave, and a mere 4 percent of the lowest-wage workers have access to such leave. And the United States is now the only industrialized country that does not offer paid maternity leave.