The 17 Worst States for Working Moms

Many local governments don’t expand on the three basic federal laws that protect parents on the job.
(Photo: Chris Craymer/Getty Images)
Jul 5, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Kristina Bravo is Assistant Editor at TakePart.

Some countries treat mothers better than others. The U.S. belongs to the latter camp. But which states fare the worst?

Last month, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a report analyzing state laws for new parents. The organization graded each state on its improvement (or lack thereof) on the three federal laws created to protect parents at work: the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, and a 2010 law that mandates break time for nursing moms.

Which state received the highest marks? California. More private-sector workers enjoy parental and caregiving rights under California state law than under the federal FMLA, and this extends to either domestic partner. Because same-sex marriage is also legal in the Golden State, gay couples are covered. Other regulations, such as accommodating pregnancy-related conditions and disabilities, go further than federal protections as well.

The District of Columbia and 33 other states expand on federal parent protection rights too, for either state or private-sector employees. But 17 states don’t have any rulings beyond the federal laws, to the detriment of many parents challenged with child care after birth or adoption.

“This slow pace of change means that too many working families continue to struggle at the very time they should be focused on giving a child the best possible start,” the study’s authors wrote. “Despite the imperative for change and the progress states have made over the last several years, progress has been slow. Without question, the toll taken by inaction is high.”

Here are the 17 states where no local parent-protection laws have been enacted:

North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota