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America is cheap when it comes to government support of families

The United States offers no paid maternity and little support to family services, while other countries with advanced economies liberally give financial aid to families
Emily Hales, Deseret News Modified: June 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm •  Published: June 19, 2014

The United States falls short in spending on family services when compared to other advanced economies.

A survey by a Paris-based think tank OECD examined the family spending in the United States' economy and in other countries, according to Quartz. The United States is among the most stingy when it comes to allocating government funding for paid paternal leave, child care and family support services, but the consequences aren't necessarily negative.

The United States has no government-mandated paid leave policy for new mothers or fathers, although the Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees new parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave if the company has over 50 employees and the mother or father has worked at the company for at least 12 months. Private companies can also set up their own paid leave policies if they choose, Quartz says.

For the 60 percent of American workers who qualify for unpaid parental leave, not everyone can afford to take the time offered, according to Forbes.

“It’s expensive to have a baby and to be away from work. So if there’s not enough cushion, or one income doesn’t cut it, then yes, it’s going to be, ‘I have to return at six weeks,’ or ‘I have to return at eight weeks,’” Pat Katepoo, a flex-work adviser and negotiation coach, told Forbes.

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