Wisconsin gets average grade on family leave

Posted on May 10, 2012 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
Posted by of Insight Publications

A report by the nonprofit National Partnership for Women & Families in Washington, D.C. gives the state of Wisconsin a “C+” on a Mother’s Day report card on how states support new parents in the workplace.

Wisconsin law gives greater access to family leave than federal laws, applying to employees who have worked at least 1,000 hours during the previous year and defines families to include domestic partners. But state law offers less time off than the federal law, giving workers a maximum of six weeks of leave for a new child, or up to two weeks to care for a spouse or domestic partner with a serious health condition. Private-sector employees at companies with 50 or more workers who earn paid leave can use it when a child is born or adopted, or to care for a sick child, spouse, domestic partner or parent. State workers who are permanent classified employees can take up to six months of unpaid leave for birth, adoption or foster-care placement.

Eighteen failing states include Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Delaware. The states were given failing grades for not providing any benefit or program to help support parents before and after they have a baby or adopt a child, according to the report, Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents. Only California and Connecticut received “A” ratings.

The organization points out that new parents are more likely to keep working when they have access to paid leave, contributing to the tax base and boosting their personal economic security. Mothers giving birth to their first child are more likely to work into their final month of pregnancy when they know they can use paid leave after the child is born. They’re also more likely to be working nine to 12 months after the child is born and make higher wages in the year following their child’s birth.


– Nikki Kallio