Recent analysis from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) suggests that many of the companies recognized as the best employers for working mothers actually fail to meet their needs, particularly when it comes to paid maternity and paternity leave. IWPR emphasizes the need for continued political mobilization around these issues.
According to IWPR (PDF), 24 percent of the Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies of 2006 provide four or fewer weeks of paid maternity leave and 52 percent provide six weeks or less. Seven percent offer no paid maternity leave whatsoever and another seven percent provide only one to two weeks. Almost half of these companies do not provide any kind of paid leave for paternity or adoption. Working Mother is expected to release their list of the 100 Best Companies of 2007 at the end of the month.
“It is very disappointing that the majority of companies, even those lauded as exemplary, are offering such paltry maternity benefits. Since many working women depend on the ratings of the best companies, I would support Working Mother setting a higher bar,” stated Martha Burk, Director of the Corporate Accountability Project of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
Proposed federal legislation would improve benefits for working parents. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2006 (HR 3158) would offer federal employees up to eight weeks of paid parental leave. The Family Leave Insurance Act of 2007 (S 1681) would provide eight weeks of wage replacement to workers taking leave under the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.