Mar 22, 2023, 4:00 am UTC
No-Brainer: Parents' health benefits from paid leave
Becoming a parent is hard. New moms and dads must cope with new schedules, new roles, and new expectations. Mothers are also recovering from pregnancy and childbirth and experiencing post-partum changes in their biology. Add to that the financial stresses associated with taking a leave of absence from work — often unpaid — and the transition to parenthood can become a perfect storm, triggering mental health problems like post-partum depression.
What can be done to reduce the stress on parents and protect their mental health? Advocates say parental paid leave policies are critical: Paid leave can support parents and offer financial stability, flexibility, and time to bond with their baby.
A new systematic review examined the international evidence on the association between parental leave and mental health among parents, including the effects of payment and duration. Here's what it found:
- U.S. Department of Labor. Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Heshmati, A., Honkaniemi, H. and Juarez S.P. (2023). The effect of parental leave on parents' mental health: a systematic review. The Lancet Public Health. 8(1): E57-75.