Menu

Oregon just passed the most generous paid family leave law in the U.S.

Oregon's new paid leave law means some moms will have their whole paychecks while recovering from birth 👏

Oregon just passed the most generous paid family leave law in the U.S.

Oregon parents-to-be, you're in luck—the state just passed a generous family leave law that will give new parents the right to paid time off upon welcoming their babies! This new development makes Oregon the eighth state to offer paid parental leave to its residents, following in the footsteps of states like Connecticut and Washington.

Oregon's law just may be the most generous of its kind: Under it, the state will pay low-income workers 100% of their wages during that 12-week window (benefits are capped at $1,215 a week).

This is groundbreaking and so important: Low-income workers are the ones who are hit hardest when taking time away from work, so knowing they'll have 100% of their wages coming in could make all the difference for workers who live paycheck-to-paycheck. Another amazing component at work here? This law also offers job protection for employees.

Under this law, Oregon residents will become entitled to 12 weeks of paid time off when they welcome a new baby. Victims of domestic violence, employees dealing with health issues and people who need to tend to ill relatives are eligible for this paid time off as well.

Contrary to popular belief, 12 weeks of paid maternity leave is not a guarantee for all U.S. employees. As Motherly has previously reported, the Family Medical Leave Act grants workers 12 weeks of unpaid time off when they have a baby, but not everyone qualifies for this. And the reality is, even among those who do qualify, many can't swing the finances of 12 weeks without pay.

Yes, some companies offer paid maternity leave to employees, but this is a privilege: About 88% of workers are ineligible for paid leave, so lots of moms are forced to choose between taking time off to heal from childbirth and bond with their new babies and making essential money. And as for dads? Well, paid paternity leave is certainly not the norm in the United States—and anyone who has ever had a baby knows how rough that can be. That's why it's so important to see states like Oregon grant its residents more generous policies.

According to The Huffington Post, this particular Oregon law was passed by the state Senate on Sunday, following the House's passing of the bill on June 20. On Monday afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown signed the bill into law.

"In 1991, as an advocate for the Women's Rights Coalition, I first began working on Paid Family Leave," she says in a statement, according to The Huffington Post. "Now, we can finally tell parents that they no longer will have to worry about losing their pay when they are having a baby or need to care for a loved one."

Just last week, Connecticut's governor signed a bill that was hailed as the most generous in the country as it covers 95% of a low-wage earner's pay. It is great to see states outdoing each other in a competition for the best paid leave plan.

Let's also talk about how inclusive Oregon's law is. These benefits extend to part-time workers as well as those with full-time jobs, and it also expands the definition of family members to include nontraditional family setups. Unlike so many leave policies, this one recognizes that all parents (not just birth mothers) deserve time off to care for their new babies.

This law represents an amazing step in the right direction for the state of Oregon—and we can only hope more states start adopting similar policies.

You might also like:



10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life