Maternity Leave in the USBy Mandi Cai

Currently, the United States is the only developed nation that has no federal policy for paid maternity leave.

Which nations have federally mandated maternity leave policies?

Norway, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, and Belgium implement some of the most generous policies in the world.

In a study organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), data was collected on 41 countries, including the United States, on federally mandated maternity leave. The United State was and is the only developed country that does not dictate any paid leave for new parents.

New mothers must rely on their employers

As a result, many new mothers in the US must rely heavily on their employers to grant them paid maternity leave and benefits.

This bubble chart visualizes maternity leave in weeks for 1,853 companies, educational institutions, and nonprofits. The data was compiled by Fairygodboss, an online platform for sharing reviews about companies by women, for women.

Netflix and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation offer the longest paid maternity leaves among this subset, at 52 weeks each.

On the higher end of the spectrum, some companies offer 25 weeks of paid maternity leave or more.

From the employers represented, around 0.9% provide their employees with 25 weeks or more of paid maternity leave.

On the lower end of the spectrum, some companies allow less than 15 weeks of paid maternity leave, which is less than Belgium's federal policy.

Several companies, i.e. Princeton Review and TGI Fridays, allow only 1 week of paid maternity leave.

There are also several institutions, represented by 0's, that do not offer any paid maternity leave.

This is especially a problem for single working mothers.

Approximately 85.2 percent offer 15 weeks or less of paid maternity leave.

A majority (60.3%) fall in the 0-9 weeks range.

The average maternity leave duration for reported employers is 8.2 weeks, according to the dataset provided by Fairygodboss.


This was featured as a favorite in the 2018 Pudding Cup, hosted by The Pudding.

The full set of data can be found in the Maternity Leave Resource Center on Fairygodboss.

Special thank you to Jim Valladingham for his scroll tutorial, and to Susie Lu for her d3-annotation library.

More of my work here.