Washington D.C. council members introduced legislation that would provide 16 weeks of paid parental leave to almost all employees in the District — paid for by a new tax on private D.C. employers. The proposal has been greeted positively by the media, which frequently point out that the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that does not offer paid parental leave.

Similarly, Bernie Sanders was met with resounding applause at the first Democratic Presidential Debate when he said, “When a mother has a baby, she should stay home with that baby,” making an argument for federally mandated maternity leave.
But in the video below, Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Lauren Hall explains that while paid parental leave may sound good on paper, in practice it does little to actually help women professionally and may actually hurt them. Long maternity leaves, she explains, mean that women end up with less experience, weaker portfolios, and a smaller network, furthering professional disparity between the sexes rather than reducing it.

Ironically, in countries with generous leave policies, there are actually a lower proportion of female managers and CEOs than in United States. We should judge policies based on such results, not on how well-intended they may seem. Remember what the road to hell is paved with.