During the 2016 election, Ivanka Trump promoted a national tax credit for a month and a half of paid maternity leave, estimated to amount to $300 weekly. It is doubtful, however, that Trump’s proposal would provide adequate income replacement for new mothers concentrated in low-waged, part-time, and precarious work—precisely those unable to afford adequate time off. According to a 2017 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IMPAQ International and Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “Estimating Usage and Costs of Alternative Policies to Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave in the United States,” Issue Brief, January 2017, iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMPAQ-Family-Leave-Insurance-1.pdf), half of young mothers ages 18–34 fail to qualify for protected family and medical leave. With paid leave programs in only a few states and corporate plans limited, the question remains: why is there so little compensated family and medical leave...

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