New parents are turning to crowdfunding to subsidize parental leave

Current federal law allows new mothers to take 12 weeks off, but the time is often unpaid so these families turned to strangers for financial help.
7:20 | 04/06/17

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Transcript for New parents are turning to crowdfunding to subsidize parental leave
First daughter Ivanka Trump vowed that paid family leave would be a cornerstone of her father's presidential agenda. And you're about to meet some expecting parents who believe policies like this can't come soon enough. Actually going as far as crowd funding their maternity and pa tearty leave. Here's ABC's chief business technology and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. And we have the crib here, blankets, a couple of things we got from the registry -- Reporter: Lisa Taylor parse is well prepared to become a mom. Just over a week left of her pregnancy. The boppy -- Reporter: The new nursery in her Florida home is already filled with items from her baby registry. But at the top of that list, a unique request. Extended maternity leave. Lisa and her husband Josh are asking friends and family to crowd fund their time off with the new baby. We have a two-income home, my husband and I work full-time. I'm going to be out of work. That's going to be a big chunk of our combined income. Reporter: Lisa is a manufacturing engineer. And plans to take 12 weeks off, most of which will be unpaid. I'm entitled to six weeks of short-term disability. Four of those weeks being at 60% of my salary. Reporter: The couple started saving money to help bridge the gap. But when they saw the cash fund option on the registry site baby list, they set a goal of $3,000. So far, they've raised nearly $500. But say every little bit helps. If you don't want to do it, no pressure. Don't feel the need to. But it's something that I would be appreciative of and I'll really need. I didn't anticipate getting it all. Reporter: Thousands of parents like Lisa and Josh are turning to crowd funding sites like baby list, plum fund, go fund me, seeking financial help to subsidize parental leave. Families ask for between $500 and $10,000. On average people are asking for $2,000 to $3,000. Reporter: The United States is the only advanced country where paid leave isn't government-sponsored. Under the current federal law, new mothers can take off 12 weeks. But only 13% of them will get any compensation. Nationwide, women are having to get more creative about how to fund this really special time in their life. When you think about it as a special time, it really becomes an experience and something that friends and family can give. Reporter: Taylor and Ross likendiper wanted bonding time and started saving early before they got the news their son Aidan would be born nine weeks early. I left work, going to a doctor's appointment, and didn't come back for three months. Reporter: Taylor had developed preeclampsia and had to be induced. Doctors were immediately concerned about her platelet count and blood pressure. Reporter: Aidan stayed in intensive care for more than six weeks and Taylor wanted more time with her newborn son once he finally got home. They turned to go fund me, the popular crowd funding site where friends, family members, and even strangers started pitching in. How did you make the decision to crowd fund the maternity leave? You know, nobody gets pregnant thinking that they're going to have a sick baby. Nobody gets pregnant thinking that they're going to be sick. We went into the whole pregnancy saving money. We body had good jobs. We did it all the right way. But -- clearly that wasn't the plan. Reporter: Taylor had just started a new job as a construction administrator. Although her company was supportive of her taking time off, she didn't yet qualify for any paid leave. So once Aidan was in the hospital, we realized that it was not going to be financially feasible for me to stay home for very long. Because of the medical bills? Because of the medical bills and because of just our day-to-day living. We only thought I was going to be out of work for maybe four to six weeks. The go fund me had been a thought but Ross was a little hesitant about it. Ross, what were your biggest reservations? We had a health crisis, we had a baby, these are intimate days of our lives we were sort of putting out there for family, friends, public consumption. So I was hesitant about that. As I kept thinking it, it occurred to me that my pride, our privacy, don't outweigh Taylor and Aidan getting the chance they need to spend time together at this most crucial part of our lives. Reporter: The critical bonding time between parents and their babies has become a hot-button top Nick the workplace. Big companies luring talent by boosting parental benefits. Last year etsy began offering all parents 26 weeks fully paid. And in 2015, Netflix began offering a whole year of leave at full pay. On a national scale, the white house is taking on family leave. A charge started on the campaign trail by first daughter ivanka Trump. The administration's most vocal advocate for working women. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide new mothers with paid maternity leave. Reporter: In February, she held a private meeting with Republican lawmakers at the white house to discuss paid family leave. But in a fraught political climate, there is little consensus how to bring about real change. My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make child care accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave. Reporter: A white house aide tells ABC news that brump's maternity leave policy will be part of a larger tax reform package. But Democrats like New York senator Kirsten jillen brand say his plan is problematic. I was grateful that he did call for a national paid leave plan but his plan wasn't that great. It was just for women. We do have to fix this. Reporter: She weren'tly introduced the family act, a bill that would help fund leave through insurance. The reason why we need a national paid leave plan, a national insurance plan, is so that all businesses can afford it. Today, only the most profitable businesses can afford it. Law firms, accounting firms, Google, Facebook, companies that are doing exceedingly well. If you're a mom and pop shop with four employees you couldn't possibly afford paid leave. Reporter: On a local level only three states -- California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island -- currently offer paid leave programs. If you were in charge, fix the system what do you do? Universal paid parental leave supported by the government. And that means financed by the government. Which obviously in the current political climate as nonstarter. But since I'm in charge of this scenario that's how I would go about doing it. Reporter: Taylor and Ross' go fund me ultimately raised more than $6,000 out of their $8,300 goal. It enabled Taylor to take 11 weeks off with Aidan. Time she says is better than any gift on any registry. The point is to be able to spend those couple of precious weeks with them when they're brand-new. And we were blessed that we got to do that. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Rebecca Jarvis in Redmond, Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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