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U.S. Only Industrialized Nation With No Paid Leave For New Parents

The U.S. is now the one and only industrialized nation that doesn't afford parents of newborns any paid leave.

Australia, which used to keep us company in that category, just passed a law that guarantees 18 weeks of leave at the federal minimum wage.  It will go into effect next January, and it is available to "mums" and dads.

The U.S. isn't alone.  According to the International Labour Organization, there is no paid parental leave in Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland.

In 1993, the U.S. did mandate 12 weeks of unpaid family leave, which can be used by new parents, though it leaves much of the work-force uncovered.

Women's rights groups argue that lack of paid leave can often throw new parents into poverty, or lead many women to quit their jobs.  But business groups have long fought any kind of paid leave.  They contend the burden on business could lead to lost jobs.

UPDATE at 2:18 p.m. ET: To see a chart that compares maternity leave benefits worldwide, click here.

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