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Rethink the finances of paid parental leave, and it could pay for itself

Darby Saxbe
Rethink the finances of paid parental leave, and it could pay for itself

Most Americans — on both sides of the political aisle — say they support paid parental leave. As a researcher who focuses on stress and health within families, I believe there’s a more important question to ask: “How do we pay for the lack of parental leave?” In other words, how does the stress of a rapid return to work affect parents, and in turn, cost society as a whole? Recently, I sought to answer this question by delving into research on the many changes that new parents experience in the first weeks, months and years after the birth of a new child — and the possibility that all these changes might not just compromise children’s well-being, but also put parents’ long-term health at risk.