A new study has rated Missouri and Kansas among the worst states in the country for new parents.
The National Partnership for Women & Families gave both states a failing grade in the third edition of "Expecting Better," an analysis of economic supports for state and private sector workers with new children.
The study was first conducted in 2005 and revised in 2012. Missouri and Kansas were given Fs both times for not providing any economic protections for new parents beyond what the federal government provides.
Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of maternity/paternity leave to take care of a newborn. But some workers do not qualify for FMLA benefits, particularly if they are working minimum-wage jobs.
"[Low-wage workers] are disproportionately unable to access unpaid leave under the FMLA because they tend to work for smaller employers, have shorter tenures and work multiple part-time jobs," the study states. "This problem will only grow worse as the jobs that employers are creating are disproportionately low-wage, low-benefit jobs, many of which tend to be held by women."
In the Midwest, the only states to receive grades higher than a C were Illinois and Minnesota. Illinois has pending legislation that would expand pregnancy accommodations for both state and private sector workers, while Minnesota has actually passed legislation for job-protected leave and flexible sick leave that goes into effect this August.
California currently holds the highest grade of any state, an A-, for providing job protected leave, paid leave and new mother workplace rights provisions for both state and private sector employees.