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New parents turning to crowdfunding to help pay for maternity leave

More new parents are turning to technology to fund the precious first few weeks with their newborn. Only 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Photo: KOMO News)

More new parents are turning to technology to fund the precious first few weeks with their newborn.

Only 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid family leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This is a problem,” said Taylor Richendrfer who delivered her 7-month-old son Aidan nine weeks early.

The Richendrfer family planned and saved for Taylor’s unpaid maternity leave. But, when Aidan came home after 47 days in the hospital, financially it was time for Taylor to return to work.

“I just couldn’t fathom the idea of him coming home and me not being able to be home with him,” said Richendrfer.

The Redmond mom asked her husband to consider crowdfunding to support her maternity leave.

After careful consideration, she created a GoFundMe page. So far, it’s raised more than $6,000.

“It was incredible - it really was,” she said. “We did not expect nearly the response we got.”

The funds allowed Taylor to take 11 weeks with Aiden. Crowdfunding is becoming a popular way parents are funding maternity and paternity leave.

“We are way behind,” said Gabriela Quintana who is the Campaign Director for the Washington Work and Family Coalition. “We should have passed a family and medical leave policy years ago.”

Three states nationwide currently have paid family leave programs - California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. Washington does not have one.

“Families shouldn’t be forced or in a situation of luck to be able to take time off,” said Quintana

There’s currently a family and medical leave bill in the Washington state legislature. HB 1116 would provide up to 26 weeks of paid leave for both parents and much more.

“It’s a shared cost between worker and employee so it allows for affordability,” said Quintana.

Taylor says it would be a welcome change many other areas have already put into action.

“My hope is that in the near future parents don’t have to go through the struggles we are now,” said Taylor.

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