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States that best protect working families

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The cost of raising a child is daunting enough — and where you live can make a difference in how affordable it is to be a working parent.

Only 13 states and the District of Columbia earn a grade of "B-" or better based on laws and other protections they have in place to help expecting and new parents in the workforce, according to a report from the National Partnership of Women & Families. Only one — California — earned a solid "A."

But state law isn't the only consideration. Some of those top locales don't fare well in WalletHub.com rankings on work-life balance and professional opportunities, and Child Care Aware of America data show others have high child-care costs.

Here's how some of the top contenders stack up, and which companies from "Best Places to Work" lists by Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com are headquarted there.

— By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant
Posted 4 Aug. 2016

California

Richard Ellgen | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: A

Among other points in its favor, California has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid family leave and medical/pregnancy disability leave, offers paid sick days and allows for flexible use of sick time.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 32 of 50

California ranked among the best on work-life balance (3), in the top half on professional opportunities for parents (18), and among the worst for cost and quality of child care and schools (47).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $11,817

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 14.36 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $2,644 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Airbnb, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intuit, Kimpton, LinkedIn, Netflix, PayPal, Twitter.

District of Columbia

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: A-

Among other points in its favor, D.C. has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid sick days and allows for flexible use of sick time.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 37 of 51

The District ranked among the best on professional opportunities for parents (1), in the bottom half on cost and quality of child care and schools (41) and among the worst for work-life balance (50).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $22,631

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 14.37 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $15,209 higher/lower than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: The Advisory Board Company, Arnold & Porter, Fannie Mae, FINRA.

New York

Tim Robbins | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: A-

Among other points in its favor, New York has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid family leave and paid medical/pregnancy disability leave and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 39 of 51

New York ranked among the top half professional opportunities for parents (22), in the bottom half on cost and quality of child care and schools (35) and among the worst on work-life balance (43).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $14,144

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 15.18 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $6,852 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Accenture, Bloomberg, Colgate-Palmolive, Cornell University, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Spotify, Verizon and Viacom.

Rhode Island

Dave Long | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B+

Among other points in its favor, Rhode Island has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid family leave and paid medical/pregnancy disability leave and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 21 of 51

Rhode Island ranked among the best on work-life balance (4), in the bottom half on cost and quality of child care and schools (33) and among the worst on professional opportunities for parents (43).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $12,867

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 13.28 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $1,933 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Citizens Financial Group, Hasbro.

Connecticut

Jamie Grill | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B+

Among other points in its favor, Connecticut has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid sick days and flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 3 of 51

Connecticut ranked among the best on work-life balance (1), in the top half on cost and quality of child care and schools (12) and in the bottom half on professional opportunities for parents (37).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $13,880

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 12.35 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $3,260 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Boehringer Ingelheim, Diageo, FactSet, Lego Systems.


Hawaii

Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B+

Among other points in its favor, Hawaii has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid medical/pregnancy disability leave, offers flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 28 of 51

Hawaii ranked among the best on professional opportunities for parents (3), in the top half on work-life balance (16), and among the worst for cost and quality of child care and schools (44).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $8,280

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 9.46 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $1,460 lower than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: N/A

New Jersey

Annie Otzen | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B+

Among other points in its favor, New Jersey has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements and offers paid family leave and paid medical/pregnancy disability leave.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 10 of 51

New Jersey ranked among the best on cost and quality of child care and schools (3), was in the top half for work-life balance (17) and among the worst for professional opportunities for parents (46).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $11,534

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 10.32 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $1,468 lower than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: ADP, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Prudential Financial, Sanofi, Unilever.

Oregon

Erik Isakson | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B+

Among other points in its favor, Oregon has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid sick days and flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 22 of 51

Oregon ranked among the best on work-life balance (2), but was in the bottom half on professional opportunities for parents (30) and cost and quality of child care and schools (40).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $11,322

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 15.2 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $2,390 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: N/A

Vermont

Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B

Among other points in its favor, Vermont has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements, offers paid sick days and flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 1 of 51

Vermont ranked among the best on cost and quality of child care and schools (1) and professional opportunities for parents (2), and in the top half on work-life balance (11).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $11,270

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 13.55 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $3,149 lower than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: N/A

Illinois

People relaxing by Lake Michigan in Chicago.
Bryce Pincham | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B

Among other points in its favor, Illinois guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 6 of 51

Illinois ranked among the best on work-life balance (7) and cost and quality of child care and schools (9), and in the top half on professional opportunities for parents (15).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $12,964

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 14.66 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $194 higher/lower than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: American Academy of Pediatrics, Northern Trust, Sears Holdings Corporation and TransUnion.

Massachusetts

Steve Dunwell | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B

Among other points in its favor, Massachusetts has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements and offers paid sick days and flexible use of sick time.

Rank from WalletHub.com: 5 of 51

Massachusetts ranked among the best on cost and quality of child care and schools (2), was in the top half on professional opportunities for parents (21) and in the bottom half work-life balance (30).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $17,062

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 15.12 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $6,111 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Akamai, Bain & Company, Boston Scientific and State Street.

Minnesota

On a lake in Minnesota. a dog jumps for a stick as a girl on a paddle board watches.
Per Breiehagen | Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B-

Among other points in its favor, Minnesota has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements, offers flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 2 of 51

Minnesota ranked among the best on all three measures: professional opportunities for parents (4), work-life balance (7) and cost and quality of child care and schools (8).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $14,366

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 15.21 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $3,839 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Allianz Life Insurance Company, Carleson and General Mills.

Washington

Getty Images

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B-

Among other points in its favor, Washington state has laws on job-protected family/pregnancy leave that exceed federal requirements and offers flexible use of sick time.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 19 of 51

Washington state was among the best for work-life balance (9) and in the top half on professional opportunities for parents (15), but ranked in the bottom half on cost and quality of child care and schools (32).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $12,733

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 14.84 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $1,887 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: Amazon, Microsoft, Perkins Coie and Zillow.

Maine

Grade from National Partnership for Women & Families: B-

Among other points in its favor, Maine has laws on job-protected family leave that exceed federal requirements, offers flexible use of sick time and guarantees greater rights than federal law for nursing mothers to express breast milk at work.


Rank from WalletHub.com: 11 of 51

Maine was among the best for work-life balance (8), and in the top half on professional opportunities for parents (12) and cost and quality of child care and schools (24).


Annual cost of infant care at a center, per Child Care Aware of America: $9,512

Cost of care as a percentage of income for a married family with one infant: 12.51 percent

Cost of infant care compared with public college tuition: $90 higher than tuition


Among the Working Mother, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Fatherly.com "Best Places to Work" companies based here: N/A