The "Right" Length of Paid Parental Leave

Though there is no one answer to what is the "right" amount of paid leave to offer new parents, consider what the International Labour Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics have stated on the topic.

The International Labour Organization

Paid Maternity Leave

The ILO recommends a minimum of 14 weeks, with at least 18 weeks when possible, given the positive health outcomes for mothers and children, and the economic benefits for women.

[Sources: C183 - Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) and R191 - Maternity Protection Recommendation, 2000 (No. 191)]

Paid Paternity Leave

The ILO has no specific recommendation, but notes that paternity leave should be offered and men incentivized to take it, citing the positive impact on child development, as well as the importance of gender equality "at the heart of decent work."

[Sources: Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and Practice Across the World (2014) and 2009 ILC Resolution]

American Academy of Pediatrics

Statements by AAP President, Dr. Benard Dreyer

AAP President, Dr. Benard Dreyer, suggests 6-9 months minimum maternity leave, noting that at least 12 weeks of paid maternity leave has a significant health impact for infants (increasing the frequency of checkups and immunizations).

[Source: NPR series "Stretched: Working Parents' Juggling Act" (2016)]


Policy Statement for Pediatric Residents

The AAP recommends pediatric residents have 6-8 weeks paid parental leave regardless of gender or whether a parent through birth, adoption, or foster care.

[Source: Parental Leave for Residents and Pediatric Training Programs (2013)]