Family leave is an essential factor in the health and well-being of women and families. People who want to become parents need to have adequate time and finances to care for a newborn infant. The reassurance of paid family leave is crucial for new mothers that may need to physically and/or medically recover from childbirth, pregnancy complications or cesarean sections. Fathers also need guaranteed paid family leave in order to take a prominent role in childrearing, so that women are not expected to bear the whole burden, and so that two men adopting a child together can adequately care for their baby. For individuals to have a legitimate choice about whether to have children, they need to have job security and know that they can smoothly transition back to their jobs after having a baby. Family leave also allows for individuals to take care of sick family members and to take care of themselves at times of extended illness.
There are almost no recent Ohio-specific data on family leave, making it difficult to evaluate the state of choice on this question. The most recent statistics are from 2007 and reveal a real problem with access to paid leave. In 2007, 4.55 million employees in Ohio were guaranteed access to unpaid family leave (Woodrum, 2007). That same year, only 440,000 workers out of all employees in Ohio had access to paid family leave (Woodrum, 2007). Just 53,000 people in management and professional fields, 92,000 people in service industry jobs, 39,000 people in sales and office fields, 65,000 people in natural resources, construction, and maintenance, and 41,000 employees in production, transportation, and material moving had access to paid family leave (Woodrum, 2007).