Hillary Clinton: Strong Parental Leave Laws Are Great. Here’s Why You Can’t Have Them.

“I don’t think, politically, we could get it now.”

Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The early stages of Hillary Clinton’s proto-presidential campaign this summer were light on details about her domestic policy proposals. Instead, she focused on selling her book, Hard Choices, which focuses on her foreign policy opinions and diplomatic chops.

But this week, during a videotaped speech to a conference on women’s issues in Japan, Clinton staked out a strong view on paid family leave, a topic that could play a role in her 2016 campaign. “The United States, unfortunately, is one of a handful of developed countries without paid family leave,” she said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “If we give parents the flexibility on the job and paid family leave it actually helps productivity, which in turn helps all of us.”

Clinton was asked about family leave during a CNN-hosted town hall in June, and said it was a good idea but one that won’t come to America anytime soon. “I don’t think, politically, we could get it now,” she said.

The United States is one of just four countries where employers are not required to grant new mothers any paid time off after giving birth. Japan, on the other hand, offers 14 weeks.

Paid family leave has been an increasingly important cause for progressives. Three states now buck the national trend and force employers to offer their employees time off. “Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth—now that’s a pretty low bar,” President Obama said in June. “That, we should be able to take care of.”

Republicans have resisted calls for offering maternity leave, as it would force company’s to spend more on employee benefits. But polls consistently show that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of such measures. “For her 2016 campaign, Clinton should make paid family leave a—no; the!—central plank,” the Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky wrote in July. Clinton’s past profile on domestic politics largely centered on her experience and wisdom on finding ways to offer universal health insurance—a topic that is mostly off the national radar thanks to Obamacare. If she wants to run for president again, anchoring her campaign on getting the US in line with the international consensus of letting workers take a bit of paid time off to take care of newborns or a sick loved one seems like a no-brainer.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate