In January, some 478,000 workers were taking parental leave in the US. That's the most since data first started being gathered in 1994, and although the figures for February and March are not as high, it’s a clear reflection of a steady trend — particularly among fathers. Indeed, paternity leave made up 16% of the total parental leave in 2022, up from 7% just a decade ago.
The Wall Street Journal, in its analysis of the data, points to the post-pandemic births boom, as well as the increasing share of Americans who have access to parental leave in their jobs, now up to 25% from 19% in 2019.
While access has improved — 396,000 American workers took parental leave each month on average in 2022, up from 270,000 some 20 years earlier — the US still lags surprisingly far behind other countries.
Unlike 63% of nations around the world, the US doesn’t offer a national paid parental leave program for fathers and it’s one of only 7 countries that has no mandated paid parental leave policy for women either.