Furthering Our Case for Paid Leave in the United States with Real Stories

Our latest report, Qualitative Paid Leave Report 2020: Furthering Our Case for Paid Leave in the United States, is based on a study we commissioned to examine how lack of paid leave affects the well-being of new mothers and their babies, particularly women working in low-wage jobs, and to amplify the experiences of low-wage working mothers in their own words. By interviewing and surveying 20 women in five states that did not require workers to have access to paid leave, we learned about how mothers navigate the experiences, demands and joys of motherhood.

 Overall, the participants in the study grappled with the following experiences:

  • Navigating work schedules, including leave and flex time policies.
  • How the women perceived that work was impacting both mothers’ and babies’ nutrition and feeding, health care and childcare.
  • Changes in the women’s original plans of working (both during their last trimester of pregnancy and postpartum), and why these changes occurred.
  • The impacts these changes had on the women and their families.

This report is complementary to our 2019 report, The First 1,000 Days: The Case for Paid Leave in America. It adds human voices and experiences to a vital policy issue. Examining 20 case studies, we unearthed moving stories that are representative of the trends discovered in our 2019 report.

For more about the report, our work with paid leave and how you can help, visit here.