From CBS News:

Americans often take pride in ways their nation differs from others. But one distinction — lack of a nationwide policy of paid maternity leave — is cited in a new report as an embarrassment that could be redressed at low cost and without harm to employers.

“Despite its enthusiasm about ‘family values,’ the U.S. is decades behind other countries in ensuring the well-being of working families,” said Janet Walsh, deputy director of the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch. “Being an outlier is nothing to be proud of in a case like this.”

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, focuses most of its investigations on abuses abroad. But on Wednesday, with release of a report by Walsh on work/family policies in the U.S., it takes the relatively unusual step of critiquing a phenomenon affecting tens of millions of Americans.

The social and economic benefits of paid family leave have long been apparent to the rest of the world. In fact, today the U.S. one of just a handful of nations (among them, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea) that don’t ensure some form of paid leave for new moms.

Read more from CBS News: Report decries lack of paid parental leave in U.S. »

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