Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

William Ascher

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The United States is the only developed nation that fails to provide its citizens with paid parental leave. The lack of parental benefit provision operates to the detriment of individuals and society as a whole by contributing to inequity across gender, race, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. As the demographics of the American workforce have changed, public policy has not kept pace. Paid parental leave is associated a number of health, economic, and social benefits. However, the greatest barrier to legislating paid parental leave is the philosophical underpinnings of American politics, specifically the strong current of liberal individualism and absence of maternalism. This thesis examines the policy option space for paid parental leave in the United States and recommends a paid parental leave policy that is gender-neutral and has a combination of three months individual leave and three months of shared leave at 100 percent wage replacement.