Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The United States is one of only 3 countries to not offer paid maternity leave.

Posted by on May. 26, 2012 at 9:52 PM
  • 133 Replies

J. Ronald Lally

GET UPDATES FROM J. RONALD LALLY

Paid Parental Leave: It's About Time

Posted: 05/22/2012 4:36 pm

In the United States, 70% of working women are mothers, and yet we are one of only three nations (out of 181 studied by McGill and Harvard Universities) that don't have paid parental leave. It's a fact we don't talk about very much, and through our silence, we're failing families. It's about time we stand up and advocate for a nationwide policy providing paid maternity leave in this country.

When moms have to go back to work too early, the whole family can suffer. Needing to juggle the responsibilities of both work and family too soon can make it hard for new moms to be at their best in either role. Worries about baby can make it hard for mom to focus on work. Meanwhile, a busy work schedule means having to work harder to coordinate child care or schedule well-baby appointments and developmental screenings. Some women may even find themselves giving up breastfeeding long before they or baby are ready. Just as troubling, when moms choose to extend their time at home with baby, many families have no choice but to request government assistance to make up for lost income. Listen to a working mom talk about why paid parental leave is important.

The United States occupies a shocking position behind other developed countries when it comes to providing parental leave. At least 178 countries have national laws that guarantee paid leave for new mothers (with 50 also guaranteeing paid leave for new fathers!). Of these, more than 100 countries (including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom) offer at least 14 weeks of paid leave for new mothers. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development comprises 34 of the world's most developed countries, and among them they provide an average 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, with an average of 13 weeks at full pay; the United States is the exception.

What are we missing here? 

The U.S. is one of the wealthiest countries on earth, with access to all the current research and knowledge, yet we stand alongside New Guinea and Swaiziland in our policies on paid parental leave. The only federal law we have in place -- the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- allows U.S. workers to take up to 12 weeks of UNPAID job-protected leave to care for new children or family members with serious medical conditions. Not only is this policy woefully inadequate for the financial realities families face, but read between the lines and you'll find it only covers about half the workforce. As just one example of FMLA's shortcomings, it does not extend to private sector businesses with fewer than 50 employees. When it comes time for any of the millions of American workers at such small business to ask for time off as a new parent, their job security is dependent on the goodwill of their employers. Even more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 11% of non-government workers and 3% of the lowest-income workers have paid family leave benefits. This is shameful.

California and New Jersey have taken steps to do better. Their paid family leave insurance programs, funded through small employee payroll tax contributions, stand out for the positive effects they've shown for employees and businesses alike. But what about the other 48 states? U.S. families deserve more.

It's time for the U.S. to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world and stand up for the rights of women and babies. They deserve better, they want better, and our country can do better if we stand together and demand change today.

 

Follow J. Ronald Lally on Twitter: www.twitter.com/forourbabies

by on May. 26, 2012 at 9:52 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
plorraine
by Member on May. 26, 2012 at 11:12 PM
4 moms liked this
Absolutely....let's drive up government spending even higher! It isn't the governments job to pay (or force other employers to pay) for women to crank out babies. There are some employers who do offer paid maternity leave, outside of having to take sick and vacation time. But, it should be the employers' choice. Now when the federal, state, or local government is the employer, well, say hello to increased taxes.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on May. 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM
2 moms liked this

Speaks volumes

'The United States occupies a shocking position behind other developed countries when it comes to providing parental leave. At least 178 countries have national laws that guarantee paid leave for new mothers (with 50 also guaranteeing paid leave for new fathers!). Of these, more than 100 countries (including Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom) offer at least 14 weeks of paid leave for new mothers. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development comprises 34 of the world's most developed countries, and among them they provide an average 18 weeks of paid maternity leave, with an average of 13 weeks at full pay; the United States is the exception.'

maidjillian
by Member on May. 27, 2012 at 12:20 AM
8 moms liked this

You're preaching to the choir here.  I did my thesis on this very subject.  I can tell you that the UK gives new mothers 6 months paid leave and then another 6 month at half pay.  The govt does not incur this cost, the employer does. 

Is it fair to the employers?  Maybe not, but that's not their country's attitude about it.  When I tell my British and Swedish friends about us having only 12 weeks unpaid, they are horrified.  I had to return to work when my son was 5 weeks because I only had 5 weeks sick and vacation saved up.  5 weeks is not enough time to establish breastfeeding, bonding and getting any sort of routine in place.  As a result I had severe post partum depression and it cost my employers a lot in mistakes I made at work (loss of consentration is a symptom of depression) and they paid for me to get therapy.  My son had yet to sleep through the night, so I was tired every day at work and not performing as I should have been.  I was entitled to take up to 12 weeks (still not long enough, IMO) but I couldn't afford to. 

Anyway... we are an awesome country, except for this.  If our conservative "family values" politicians really believed in family-first, we'd have a different story.

Arroree
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM
9 moms liked this


Quoting plorraine:

Absolutely....let's drive up government spending even higher! It isn't the governments job to pay (or force other employers to pay) for women to crank out babies. There are some employers who do offer paid maternity leave, outside of having to take sick and vacation time. But, it should be the employers' choice. Now when the federal, state, or local government is the employer, well, say hello to increased taxes.

Very few things should be the employers choice, when we left everything up to the employer they literally worked their employees to death for pennies a day and refused to make any changes until the government stepped in. Employers will do anything to save every penny they can, they couldn't care less about their employees or their employees needs.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on May. 27, 2012 at 12:49 AM
1 mom liked this

Love when the new ones come out swinging.

No regulations needed because companies would always do what is right and just- LOL

Tanya93
by on May. 27, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Oops.

You are young.

Hmmm. Just not a good fit for the company.
Yeah, mandate it and many new reasons women aren't good fits for a company.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Tanya93
by on May. 27, 2012 at 12:54 AM
1 mom liked this
It is possible not to get pregnant until you have the money saved for 12 weeks of salary.


Quoting maidjillian:

You're preaching to the choir here.  I did my thesis on this very subject.  I can tell you that the UK gives new mothers 6 months paid leave and then another 6 month at half pay.  The govt does not incur this cost, the employer does. 

Is it fair to the employers?  Maybe not, but that's not their country's attitude about it.  When I tell my British and Swedish friends about us having only 12 weeks unpaid, they are horrified.  I had to return to work when my son was 5 weeks because I only had 5 weeks sick and vacation saved up.  5 weeks is not enough time to establish breastfeeding, bonding and getting any sort of routine in place.  As a result I had severe post partum depression and it cost my employers a lot in mistakes I made at work (loss of consentration is a symptom of depression) and they paid for me to get therapy.  My son had yet to sleep through the night, so I was tired every day at work and not performing as I should have been.  I was entitled to take up to 12 weeks (still not long enough, IMO) but I couldn't afford to. 

Anyway... we are an awesome country, except for this.  If our conservative "family values" politicians really believed in family-first, we'd have a different story.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
lga1965
by on May. 27, 2012 at 12:59 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting plorraine:

Absolutely....let's drive up government spending even higher! It isn't the governments job to pay (or force other employers to pay) for women to crank out babies. There are some employers who do offer paid maternity leave, outside of having to take sick and vacation time. But, it should be the employers' choice. Now when the federal, state, or local government is the employer, well, say hello to increased taxes.

 Yikes! This is really anti-woman...and you ARE a woman ,right?

There ARE many companies that DO give paid maternity leave, i don't know what this guy is talking about. The very minimum is 6 weeks. I know of one company that will give their executives 6 MONTHS of paid maternity leave if there is a need ...here in Minneapolis.The Twin Cities are family-oriented and not misogynistic,thank goodness.

It IS posible to have a career and children at the same time.

Your remark "cranking out babies" is ridiculous.  All you care about is "the taxes": and whether or not your taxes might go up a few dollars. You might need paid maternity leave some day so don't be so negative.

Euphoric
by Bazinga! on May. 27, 2012 at 1:05 AM
1 mom liked this

 I heard in England that they even send a nanny home with you for two weeks. How nice would that be.

grandmab125
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2012 at 1:17 AM
3 moms liked this

We had this same heated discussion last month.  All of you libs think the companies and gov't should pay for everything.  How about you don't buy that big house, or new car, or latest I-Phone or I-Pad, or take those big vacations, and save your money so you have enough to stay home for a few months if you don't get paid leave from your company.  Don't keep popping out those babies if you can't afford to stay home to care for them for as long as you wish to.  Most companies are small businesses, which means they employ less than 50 people, and you expect them to be able to afford to pay you for not working for months and months?  Stop complaining.  In the old days, we got six weeks, unpaid...that was it.  Then you either came back or you quit.

You wonder why companies hesitate to hire young women?  It's because it's just too damn expensive to pay for months of paid maternity leave.  And as for all of those other civilized countries, like in Europe, that give months and months of paid leave for both parents, wake up people.....they're nearly all broke.  Why do you think the people in those countries are rioting?  It's because their social programs are getting cut back since the countries can't afford them any more.

The more you make a company pay for, the fewer employees they are going to hire.  And that tired line about companies using and abusing their employees just doesn't hold true any more.  Yes there are some crappy companies to work for, but the majority are decent places and have decent benefits for their employees; that is of course not counting jobs like hairdressers, waitresses, taxi drivers and people like that who don't usually get paid benefits.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)