According to an article by the Huffington Post, “When Australia passed a parental leave law in 2010, it left the U.S. as the only industrialized nation not to mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns. Most of the rest of the world has paid maternity leave policies, too; Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are the only other countries that do not. Many countries give new fathers paid time off as well or allow parents to share paid leave.
New parents in the U.S. are guaranteed their jobs for 12 weeks after the arrival of a new baby, thanks to the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, but they do not have to be paid during that time and exemptions apply for small companies. Only about 16 percent of employers offer fully paid maternity leave and many families take on significant debt or turn to public assistance around the birth of a child.”
Is it just me or is this completely crazy? Why at most places of work is pregnancy considered an ‘illness’ which requires you to use short term disability and get paid for only a portion of your time off (and that’s even if you have and qualified for short term disability!) or like many new moms, being off without any pay but your saved up vacation days?!
I don’t understand how in the ‘land of the free’ we can be so restricting when it comes to this. Yes, this leave is to spend time with our newborn child(ren) but that in itself is more of a job than any other 9 to 5 place of employment. You don’t get to clock in, take an hour lunch and clock out. Ha! You’re lucky if you any food in throughout the day. So yes, we are working…we are RAISING A CHILD. We are KEEPING A HUMAN BEING ALIVE. And we are doing it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week not 5 days a week, 8 hours a day (I realize others work more but I’m using the typical 40-hour work week). We are child care providers and we deserve to be paid during this time! We are not at home laying around on the couch, watching Real Housewives and shopping online all day. We are feeding, changing, monitoring, cleaning and doing everything that requires our complete and utter attention, care, responsibility and love for this new person in our family.
I am pretty sure that motherhood is said to be the most difficult and under appreciated job and this is a great video that proves it:
Another favorite of mine is also this one:
Employers in the United States…WAKE UP! Do you have a mom? Because I’m sure you do (living or deceased). And did that mom take care of you? I’m sure she did. She raised you when women stayed home and fulfilled their role as the housewives. Now women work and when we need to be home for the first precious weeks of our child’s lives, we deserve to be paid for that time we are away from our ‘other’ job.
I really hope in the near future things change with regards to maternity leave because the beautiful miracle of birth shouldn’t ever be considered an ‘illness’.