For new parents, having time to bond with their newborn is often at odds with rigid work schedules. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave.
The U.S. has no federally mandated paid family leave time, while countries such as Iran and Mexico both guarantee 12 weeks maternity leave. China has 13 weeks. Canada has 15 weeks and the United Kingdom allows 40 weeks. Recently, however, some major technology companies—including Microsoft, Netflix and Adobe—have announced they are expanding paid parental leave benefits.
While encouraging, those moves fall short of what some observers think are a set of U.S. workplace rules that aren't family friendly enough. Currently, only a handful of states have laws on their books that provide paid family leave for parenting. Employees in California and New Jersey can receive up to six weeks, while Rhode Island allows up to four weeks.
"The United States has the most family hostile public policy in the entire developed world," Joan Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. In an interview with CNBC's "On The Money," Williams says that situation is being partly addressed because of a tight labor market for key talent, particularly in Silicon Valley's hotly competitive technology sector.
"One of the ways that employers are competing is by trying to offer better leave and more family friendly benefits." Williams added. "That's a real change. That's striking."