There is no national maternity leave policy in the United States and President Barack Obama wants to see that changed.

“Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth — now that’s a pretty low bar,” President Obama said at this week’s White House Summit on Working Families. “That, we should be able to take care of.”

President Obama said the United States should join the rest of the industrialized world and offer paid leave for mothers of newborns.

Various studies have tied health benefits to maternity leave, such as improved mental and physical health for new mothers and a higher likelihood to establish breastfeeding. The early days of parental bonding can also be strengthened through maternity leave, which can lead to long-term benefits for the child in terms of social development and overall wellbeing.

While some companies in the U.S. offer paid family leave to attract workers, the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act only requires that employers provide unpaid leave for medical and family reasons.

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