April 12, 2007
Parental Leave and Other Embarrassments
Saul Levmore, Dean at Chicago, will lecture next Tuesday at Case Western on why the United States has one of the least generous parental leave policies in the world. Here's a preview:
"It is not simply that we choose to have less of a welfare state," says Levmore, who has served as law dean at the University of Chicago since 2001. "Many developing nations offer little in the way of safety nets, but much more than our laws do for the typical employee occupied with childbirth. The right to parental leave is new to American workers; it covers one-half of the private sector workforce and is relatively short and unpaid. By contrast, other nations offer universal, paid leaves of 10 months or more."
Levmore will focus on parental leave policies and particularly the sustainability of current parental leave policies by private employers, such as high-end law firms, who often find a much higher dropout rate among the very employees their leave policies were meant to encourage. He also will discuss the adoption of universal extended paid parental leave as well as how to help parents cover more child care costs and improve the quality of child care.
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