by Jeff Green and Carol Hymowitz / January 6, 2016

Percentage of companies offering leave almost doubled in 2015
An estimated 44% of U.S.workers still lack even unpaid leave

There’s never been a better time to have a baby at Facebook Inc. Or at Netflix Inc. Or Credit Suisse Group AG.

But as those and other big-name corporations expand paid leave for new parents, millions of ordinary Americans face a hard truth: they get no parental leave at all.

Call it the baby gap. In most wealthy nations, getting time off to care for a new child is a given. But in the United States, generous parental leave — indeed, any parental leave — is reserved for a relative handful of employees. Just two in five U.S. companies offer paid maternity leave.

Netflix first offered the expanded benefit to salaried workers but then extended it to hourly workers after a public outcry. That underscores how leave is still a job differentiator, not a societal norm, said Ken Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in New York.

“My hope is that the more you have the elites embraces this as a norm for them, and not a perk, society starts having a conversation about it as a norm for a broader collection of people,” Matos says.


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