Parental Leave, Lactation, and Childcare Policies at Top US Schools of Public Health

Am J Public Health. 2019 May;109(5):722-728. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.304970. Epub 2019 Mar 21.


Objectives: To describe policies related to parental leave, breastfeeding, and childcare for faculty and staff at top schools of public health in the United States.

Methods: We identified the top 25 schools of public health from the US News and World Report rankings. We reviewed each institutional Web site to identify publicly available policies as of July 2018.

Results: For birth mothers, 80% (20/25) of the schools provided paid childbearing leave to faculty (mean = 8.2 weeks), and 48% (12/25) provided paid childbearing leave for staff (mean = 5.0 weeks). For nonbirth parents, 68% (17/25) provided paid parental leave for faculty and 52% (13/25) for staff (range = 1-15 weeks). We found that 64% (16/25) of the schools had publicly available lactation policies, and 72% (18/25) of the schools had at least 1 university-run on-campus childcare center.

Conclusions: The majority of top US schools of public health provide paid leave to faculty birth mothers. However, most schools fall short of the 14 weeks recommended by the American Public Health Association.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Care / organization & administration
  • Child, Preschool
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Parental Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Work-Life Balance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Workplace / statistics & numerical data*