Population Health and Paid Parental Leave: What the United States Can Learn from Two Decades of Research

Healthcare (Basel). 2016 Jun 1;4(2):30. doi: 10.3390/healthcare4020030.


Over the last two decades, numerous studies have suggested that dedicated time for parents to be with their children in the earliest months of life offers significant benefits to child health. The United States (US) is the only wealthy nation without a formalized policy guaranteeing workers paid time off when they become new parents. As individual US states consider enacting parental leave policies, there is a significant opportunity to decrease health inequities and build a healthier American population. This document is intended as a critical review of the present evidence for the association between paid parental leave and population health.

Keywords: breastfeeding; infant mortality; low birthweight; maternity leave; parental leave; paternity leave.

Publication types

  • Review