Paid parental leave is a pretty simple concept: that we should give working parents paid time off to be with their newborn child during the first days of life. This is such an overwhelmingly popular idea that many wealthy nations have had such provisions for more than 100 years (Switzerland in 1879, Germany in 1911, as two examples). Over the last century, every single wealthy country in the world has caught onto this idea, with the exception of the United States.
The US does parental leave (also variously called “maternity leave”, “family leave”, and “paternity leave”) much in the same way it handled healthcare until a few years ago — it’s your own personal responsibility to plan for it, and if you’re lucky enough to have a good job, your employer may provide benefits as a perk to incentivize you not to change jobs and work at a competitor. It seems that almost weekly there are major news stories about high profile American employers revising their paid parental leave policies to offer increasingly generous benefits. But what these stories often leave out is that roughly 9 out of 10 American workers are not covered by such policies.
Netflix makes a great example: they offer a year or more of paid leave to high paid employees in their streaming division (which is what makes it into the news), but hourly employees who, for example, work in DVD distribution centers, are left out.