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Zero Weeks: America’s Family Leave Crisis and the Cost of Doing Nothing cover photo

Zero Weeks: America’s Family Leave Crisis and the Cost of Doing Nothing 2017

Highly Recommended

Distributed by The Video Project, 145 - 9th St., Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103; 800-475-2638
Produced by Ky Dickens, Alexis Jaworski, and Amy McIntyre
Directed by Ky Dickens
DVD, color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
Family, Laws, Parenting

Date Entered: 12/11/2018

Reviewed by Barbara J. Walter, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO

Paid leave is an issue that affects every single person. If you are ever going to get sick or injured, if you ever need knee surgery, if you have parents who are going to age, this is an issue that impacts you. So many people think this is just a new parents issue or a working mom issue, and it’s not.
from "Balancing Act", Chicago Tribune, 12-21-2015

Pregnant with her first child, documentary filmmaker Ky Dickens was dismayed to discover that her employer granted just two weeks paid maternity leave. As it turns out, Dickens was fortunate to receive paid leave at all—almost a quarter of American working mothers return to work within ten days of giving birth, and only 14% of American workers report receiving paid leave of any sort.

In Zero Weeks, Dickens (Sole Survivor 2013, Fish Out of Water 2009) presents a persuasive argument for paid family leave. Urgent yet optimistic in tone, the film combines whimsical animated clips chock-full of sobering statistics on family leave, here and around the globe, with informative interviews with CEOs, economic experts, legislators, activists and others on the front lines of efforts to change US public policy. Dickens drives home her point with the stories of six families caught in health crises that threaten to push them to the breaking point, physically, emotionally and financially.

Excellent in all technical details, Zero Weeks calls current family leave policy in the US into question in a compelling, intelligent way. This film deserves a place in every American public library, as well as in academic libraries supporting coursework in the social sciences, medicine, public health and public policy. Chaptered.


  • Winner, 2017 Colorado International Film Festival
  • Best Documentary, 2017 International Women’s Film Festival
  • Gold Award, 2017 Spotlight Documentary Film Awards