This is shameful.


From World Policy Forum

The three countries in red are the only countries in the world that offer no paid maternity leave for mothers of infants. Our nation, which I do believe is great, has its glaring flaws nonetheless. Employers are not required to offer paid maternity leave. Parents who qualify may take Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, which is up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job protected leave in a calendar year. My employer, more generous than many, offers six weeks of paid leave concurrent with FMLA leave, but I ended up needing to take six weeks of leave before my children even were born. I eventually used the rest of my FMLA for 2013, and plead with my supervisor, receiving two additional weeks leave of absence. Without this, my children would have been at daycare without as much as a first vaccination against any disease. I have co-workers who have spent more time on leave for foot surgery.

My heartbreak every day as I entrust my precious children to another woman is the least part of this equation. Think of their growth, safety, and mental development – of which my husband and I are the guardians, despite the fact that we spend only about two waking hours of twenty-four with our children. Think of my recovery from the most intense physical experience I have ever had, of gaining nearly seventy pounds within the space of less than eight months, of expelling two human beings from my body and the exhaustion and bodily injuries that resulted from these. Think of the sleepless nights and the resulting problems of sleepiness, memory trouble, susceptibility to illness.

Think of how many women and children have even more difficult experiences: of my co-worker who had to return to work before her son, born prematurely and with a metabolic disorder, was able to go home from the hospital; of an online acquaintance who nearly died from a placental abruption; of a friend who suffered from HELLP syndrome; of women who have even uncomplicated caesarean sections. A C-section is a major surgery!

We must do something to help families in our country, so children can get the best start possible.

6 thoughts on “This is shameful.

  1. I do not think forcing businesses to pay people who are not working will help children.

    I want my kids to have the best start possible– so I am not entrusting them to any other woman. I’m at home. (Which is good, because my first c-section was not uncomplicated.)
    I spend about two hours of waking time a week not around them. If we had family around, I might change that, if only by taking in relative’s kids so they’re not socialized in a daycare setting.

    I know some people’s situation doesn’t work out.
    That doesn’t change that requiring, by law, that anyone who hires a woman be prepared pay them to stay home for two or three months is just not right. It will make it harder to get hired as a woman, and it’s an attempt to force generosity out of people who simply don’t have it to spare; a worker is worth his wages, but he’s got to be working for the guy who’s paid.

    There are already businesses that offer parental leave in a wide range of forms, and some states as well. California, for example.
    Part of the push for these laws is that it’s expensive, and the big companies with a good income can afford to shoulder the weight– smaller ones cannot.

    • I hope that you don’t think I’m a bad mother for working, because I can’t afford not to. I too want to give my kids the best start possible, which in my mind includes a place to live, health insurance, and food to eat. If I don’t work, my family could be in danger of losing these. I agree that forcing businesses to pay people who aren’t working is not ideal (and probably not even good). How does it work in other industrialized countries? I think the true ideal situation would be a world where most if not all families could afford to live on one income if they so chose. I’m probably bitter because I hate my situation. I should have done my homework before posting this, but I don’t know. I smell that something is not right, but I don’t know what would be right, or how to fix it.

      • Like I said, some folks’ situations don’t allow it. I wouldn’t have brought it up if you had not.

        Part of the problem is that the UN group that did the study ignored what happens in practice and treated only national laws as important.

        It’s not popular to point it out, but part of why all the other countries can spend more on “social spending” than we do is because they don’t have to protect the routes their industry needs in order to function– America does a massive amount of that. That those pirates a few years back are odd is not a default situation– and nobody else who is strong enough to do it on their own is someone you want to have authority over who gets to trade.

        It’s a recognized problem, we’re now something like a decade or two into Europe agreeing to spend something like 5% to be growing to 10 on their own national defense. IIRC, nobody has. (making lunch, can’t research right now, sorry; was probably NATO, although we spend way too much propping up the UN)

        I’m probably bitter because I hate my situation. I should have done my homework before posting this, but I don’t know. I smell that something is not right, but I don’t know what would be right, or how to fix it.

        Of course you hurt– not bitter, hurt. (although they might look a lot alike, especially from the first person) What mom doesn’t worry about doing the right thing for her kids, and feel sure she’s messing up!?!? You’re doing the best you can, and it seems like everything is balanced against you. We’re barely keeping our heads above water as well but because of all the “helpful” things people have done before, to “protect” folks. So, I can’t start a home business, I can’t watch the neighbor’s kids for pay, I can’t even make and deliver lunches to my husband’s office; I can’t get a minimum wage, part time job because the stuff I can do in the tiny amount of time that I’m not watching the kids would cost anybody who might hire me more than they could gain by it, and because of my husband’s job we have to strictly follow all of the work regulations.

        There are a lot of people who simply do not follow the laws. They profit by this, Do Gooders then say that there’s still a problem and make the rules tighter, and a few more people slip out of actually following the laws.

      • By the by, my mom worked when we were kids. It’s just that, being on a ranch and salaried, they were able to work out things she could do with the kids– which included picking up the slack for folks who were sick, or watching the kids for someone who was doing something that wasn’t conductive to having kids around.

        Half of it was possible because agricultural work is exempt from a lot of the regulations, and half of it is now illegal. (For example, people have been charged with child labor because they let people bring their kids to play on the side of the field or orchard when they’re picking.)

  2. As best I can find, the source for the “only three countries on earth” claim is a mutation of “three of those in a study of 185 countries by the International Labor Organization” looking at what countries require by law that new mothers be given cash– not even all the members of the UN.

    They also note that where the employers are liable for paying for work not provided, “informal work” happens more. (There’s laws, but people are working under the table to avoid them.)–en/index.htm

  3. Alright, baby’s down, had time to look for the thing on defense spending I halfway remembered– it’s NATO, the target for 2013 was two percent of GDP, and four of them managed it, with Poland almost hitting the target at 1.8. The US spends more than all the rest combined. This is not an indication we need to spend less, it means that these guys have to spend more so we CAN shift the burden.

    Even if you figure that the US is basically 50 countries with a really tight alliance, we’re spending 4-5% of our GDP to make shipping possible. Sure, we benefit a lot from that, but we also get asked to pony up each time anybody else gets threatened…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s