To Leave or Not to Leave – Maternity and Paternity Policies in Omaha, NE

Ashley Baker, Cristina Franco, and Jordyn Klein

In a city where more people are starting families, taking care of their loved ones based on current Family and Medical leave policies provided by their employers is becoming more and more difficult. This study will analyze different maternity and paternity policies from various employers in the Omaha area.This study will also be analyzing company websites and will be looking at the income of various jobs.


The research begun by analyzing nine companies; eight of the nine are in the Omaha area. These various companies included Mutual of Omaha Bank, First National Bank, First Data, Merrill Lynch, Omaha Public School, UNMC, Lozier, Netflix, and PayPal. Netflix is the only company not present in the Omaha area, but served in this study as the highest standard for paternal leave policies. The information was gathered from online databases, including the company websites, to find the maternity and paternity policies. Income ranges were found using a database called Payscale. This database allowed the study to compare respective incomes of the nine companies with their maternity policies (see Figure 1 for more details).

Introduction into findings

This study coded our data by developing 6 main concepts. The usage and length of FMLA, financial stability/income, and unpaid or paid leave including benefits seemed to be present in most of the scholarly article essays. While paternity leave and low income programs were only mentioned a few times. Here is a table of our Scholarly articles and our six concepts.

concept table

Table 1. Concept table used to strengthen the arguments of the six concepts

Some companies, such as Netflix and PayPal proudly advertised their policies; others such as Mutual of Omaha and First National Bank took more research in order to find the policies specific to Omaha. Table 2 represents the information of all nine companies maternity policies, paternity policies, income, and whether the leave is paid or unpaid.


Table 2. Representation of information found from companies.

Findings and Analyzing 

Maternity leave

The study finds that maternity policies are on a very broad scale starting with the basics of Family and Medical leave leading all the way up to paid maternity leave. FMLA went into effect on August 5th, 1993. The Family and Medical Leave Act provides up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for eligible employees. The main significance of FMLA was to balance the needs of family as well as the needs of the workplace. Every business that has at-least 50 employees has to offer FMLA to any individual who has worked at least 1,250 hours in the last year. UNMC, Lozier, and OPS have an income range of $29,000-$40,000 and offer twelve weeks of unpaid maternity leave. While companies like PayPal, Netflix, and Merrill Lynch have an income range of $45,000-$63,000 and offer twelve or more weeks of paid leave. Various studies such as Winegarden and Bracy (1992) looked at different benefits of paid leave and found that paid leave encourages mothers to come back to work sooner rather than the mothers with unpaid leave which didn’t seem to be effected. In the study of Belsky (1984) and Gottfried (1994) found that parents wellbeing, their attitude about work and family, martial support, and employer and employment conditions all play an important role in the length of the leave the parent takes and the work adaptation after birth.


Maternity leave seems to be an important role in the development of a child’s life. The study has shown maternity leaves that are unpaid, partially paid or completely paid. Consequently, employees with higher incomes often have better benefits to their leave. These better benefits such as a longer leave or a paid leave can influence both the mother and the child. In the Scholarly Article, “Parental leave and Work Adaption at the Transition to Parenthood: Individuals, martial, and Social correlates,” various studies analyzed the effects on paid and unpaid maternity leave as well as shorter leaves compared to longer leaves. This article found that a shorter maternity leave than twelve weeks is linked with a higher maternal depression and higher mortality rate. Not only do mothers become depressed, they become less knowledgeable of infant development often using websites to look up various things. One study, Winegarden and Bracy (1992) looked at different benefits of paid leave and found that paid leave is linked with decreased mortality rates, an increase in birth rates, and an increase in women’s participation at work during childbearing years. The significance of maternity leave is solely to form a bond between mother and child, without this bond mothers become depressed and distant and often times stressed out. Nevertheless in the Omaha area, maternity leave isn’t significant to many employers because most companies have the default of twelve unpaid weeks, whereas Netflix has a maternity policy of up to a year, you can analyze the companies and see various benefits to having a longer leave.

Paternity leave

Often times fathers aren’t considered as important in a child’s life as a mother is, this is clearly demonstrated in the various paternity policies around the Omaha Area. The range of paternity leave is a lot more drastic than maternity leave. While some companies such as First National Bank offers twelve weeks of unpaid leave, other companies such as UNMC only offer 5 days of unpaid paternity leave. Companies with higher income salary such as PayPal and Merrill Lynch offer better paternity policies ranging from two weeks paid leave to twenty four weeks paid leave. Our study found that Netflix however offers the best paternity leave with unlimited leave up to a year.


From analyzing all of our data, this study shows that fathers are not supported in the Omaha Area. Our companies did not have many paternity leave policies. The psychological development of children shows that the most important timing in a child’s life takes place in the first twelve months. Without support of a father, it can effect the mothers wellbeing as well as the child’s. The significance of a male role model is crucial in the newborns first stages of development. However, there is a growing attention to males and their importance in the child’s life. In the Scholarly Article, “Leave Policies in Challenging Times (2004-2014),” the authors analyze various policies used by companies. Between 2007-2013, policies took a turn for the better and focused on a policy that was one year paid leave together and childcare from twelve months of age. This policy was used to encourage women to return to work earlier than expected and while this policy was focused on growing diversity, changes in the workplace and concentration of work, the policy was changed. The newer policy was improved because of information and research into why and how decisions are made as far as taking and returning from leave as well as the impact leave had and the relationship it has between the family diversity.


While some employers offer benefits to their employees and others do not, it is good to analyze these benefits to see how they affect the health and wellbeing of their employees. Companies such as First National Bank offer additional benefits such as lactation rooms, mental health consultations, and on-site child care centers. While Omaha Public Schools offer different classes and programs such as parenting and discipline, stress and anxiety, child care, and financial issues that come with having children. Another example is Lozier’s and their ‘take a step towards healthy pregnancy’ program which provides educational resources to help expecting mothers throughout the trimesters. These benefits are offered in addition to maternity and paternity leaves.


Having additional benefits outside of pregnancy leave is very important. Worldwide, 43 children die per 1,000 live births according to the World Health Organization. Having resources such as child care, lactation rooms and educational services can combat child mortality, postpartum depression, as well as a slew of other issues that come with child birth and care. Parents are also more willing to come back to work sooner if they know they can continue to give their children the care they need to develop while earning a living. For the given reasons the risks of depression, anxiety and child mortality decrease.


Looking at various programs offered in the Omaha area, this study analyzes what our community does to help out pregnant mothers. The Child Care and Development fund (CCDF) is a federal grant that helps low income families with work related child care expenses. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human services offers prenatal care, immunizations, nutrition and food resources, family planning, and pregnancy related depression counseling services for pregnant woman. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) offers refundable credit for workers who earned low incomes. While the Child Care and Development fund, Nebraska Department of Health and Human services, and lastly the Earned Income Tax Credit are incredibly important to low income parents, it also benefits the child in providing a better development.


This study analyzed all three specific programs that help support not only mothers but low income families. The Child Care and Development fund (CCDF) is a federal grant that helps assist low income families taking care of a child so they can work and or attend school. Information provided by the Office of Child Care stated, “A minimum of 4 percent of CCDF funds must be used to improve the quality of child care and other additional services to parents, such as resource and referral counseling regarding the selection of child care providers.” Alongside with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program, that provides assistance to low income families who have a low to moderate income status. The EITC program reduces the tax one owes as well as may offer a refund assisting families in need. At last the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services providing support for healthy moms, Children’s health Insurance programs, and many other resources supporting struggling families in need.


This study analyzed the income of these nine companies because income plays an important role in what type of care and treatment you receive from your employer. The incomes were across the board ranging from our lowest company OPS with $29,000 per year leading up to Merrill Lynch with $63,000 per year. The study found that of nine companies, the companies with a salary income lower than $40,000 offered unpaid leave while the companies with a higher salary income of $40,000 offered paid leave.


The analysis of income and paid or unpaid leave concluded that making at or above $40,000 per year determined what benefits you will receive from your employer in Omaha. For most position making over $40,000 per year, it is required that you have a high school and college degree. If you wish to have a paid maternity leave for 12 weeks or longer, higher education is a must. This is interesting considering those whom make over $40,000 a year are more likely to be able to pay the bills while on leave compared to less than $40,000 a year are those whom need the paid leave more.


Figure 1. Chart comparing paternal leave policies with respective incomes.

Further Research

As discussed in the income analysis of this paper, yearly salary effects the length of leave as well as pay during leave. Briefly discussed was the connection between education leave and yearly salary. Education has a major impact on salary, thus impacting paternal leave length and pay. Some further research on education level in contrast with age of partners during child birth may shed more light on the topic.


In conclusion, if you are expecting and work in the Omaha area take into consideration your employers’ maternity and paternity policies. This study found that with better maternity policies compared to fathers, fathers are looked at to be less valuable. Analyzing companies in the Omaha area with higher average income, this study found there is a higher chance for better policies when you make more money.

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