Congress weighs paid leave plan, but US still lags behind: 4 things to know

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If Congress accepts a plan to provide four weeks of paid leave, it would remove the U.S. from the list of only six countries worldwide that do not provide any form of national paid leave, The New York Times reported Oct. 25.

The plan, in which Democrats originally proposed 12 weeks of leave, is now down to only four. 

Four things to know: 

1. Among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, the U.S. is the only nation to not offer any paid leave. The average amount of paid leave for new mothers across the OECD is 18 weeks.

2. Globally, the average paid maternity leave is 29 weeks, and the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks.

3. Paid leave is a particularly salient concern for women who often act as caregivers. Around 77 percent of front-line health and long-term care workers are women.

4. Absence of sick leave can disproportionately affect communities of color. In the private sector, 18.7 percent of Latina women, compared to 8.4 percent of white men, lack access to the unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act because of its minimum annual hours requirement. Fifty-two percent of workers in long-term care are people of color.

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