Last week Maria Shriver posted a tribute to California's groundbreaking, decade-old paid family leave. In her Huffington Post column, she wrote:
We're thankful that in a few places around the country, new parents are getting some of the help they need. This month California is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which has helped more than 1.5 million parents take paid time away from work to bond with a newborn or adopted child.
Since the law's passage, research has confirmed that paid family leave offers real and lasting benefits both to families and to employers. Mothers and fathers are getting increased bonding time with newborns. Breastfeeding rates have almost doubled for mothers who take leave. There are lower rates of postpartum depression, and health outcomes among children have improved. Perhaps most important, as we pointed out in the Shriver Report, programs such as California's PFL law can boost employment and family income by allowing parents to go back to work at their old jobs after taking family leave. In fact, an overwhelming majority of employers report that providing family leave has a neutral or even positive impact on productivity and their bottom line.