*This is The Good Mama’s 2nd monthly HOT TOPIC. Be sure to check out the first hot topic on Extended Breastfeeding.
Today is Labor Day- a celebration of the American worker.
Yet, what about the American working mother?
The United States is the only Western country to not provide any form of paid maternity leave, and one of only two countries in the world (The International Labor Organization Report).
Now, the laws as they stand don’t affect me personally since Good Papa and I decided I was going to stay at home before W was born. We are very fortunate that we were able to make that decision.
Some mothers and fathers do not have a choice.
In fact, the mothers in most need of paid maternity leave are the least likely to receive it (Center for American Progress).
Mothers may have to go back to work immediately because they cannot afford to take any time off. We all know how expensive those tiny humans can be!
Hot Topics Debate Question
Should the United States provide working mothers with paid maternity leave?
I understand why many Americans are hesitant to adopt other countries’ practices regarding maternity leave. Who really wants to pay more taxes? I don’t want the government to have too much control.
Take a look at the small business owner. They need and depend on all of their workers. They might be left stranded if all of the women workers decide to have babies at the same time. Didn’t you know? Pregnancy is contagious!
I mean, really, women should just plan better. If you know you can’t afford to have children, why would you have one in the first place? I guess accidents can’t happen.
Despite these arguments, I think the US needs to address the issue and make a change. Let’s face it- working parents aren’t going anywhere.
Yes, it may cost money up front, but I think it’s important to note that we end up paying for it regardless.
Imagine a pregnant woman working a low income job that does not provide any paid maternity leave. After she gives birth (hopefully she was able to take a day off to give birth), she has this brand new baby to care for, she needs the money to provide for her child, but she is getting paid so low that she can’t even afford child care services. What is she to do?
She ends up quitting her job and has to accept government assistance instead. Over 50% of workers worry about financials when taking unpaid leave in the US (FMLA Survey). Isn’t it better to be proactive as opposed to reactive?
Ultimately, I think providing paid maternity leave is in the best interest for our country. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be forced to decide between family and providing for them. Unfortunately, there are mothers out there in our country making that decision every day.
Should we just forget about them and say, “tough luck?” Or, should do whatever we can to help those precious, little ones start off on the right foot?
After all, it’ll be our babies running things in future America.
Readers, let me know what you think! Do you agree with me that the US maternity leave laws need an update? Or, are you content to have the government stay out of your business? What type of leave did you or did you not receive? Let me know in the comment section below.
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