Hello SOTGC community,
Did you know that in the United States, many government workers cannot even get one day of paid maternity leave? We are currently the only industrialized country that does not offer paid maternity leave. This is not only a work-related issue, but a public health concern. Countries that offer paid maternity leave statistically show lower child poverty rates, greater parental involvement, and higher breast feeding rates. Additionally, companies that offer paid maternity leave boast a higher rate of women who return to work after giving birth (americanprogress.org).
This past week, President Obama encouraged Congress to pass legislation to enact paid maternity leave. He is also encouraging flexible work hours for working families. “There is only one developed country that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us,” Obama said (huffingtonpost.com).
As for me personally, I am lucky to work for a company that offers maternity leave benefits. However, for many women this is not the case. Recently, I found myself speaking with a British woman my age while on vacation. We were discussing maternity leave in both our respective countries. She described that if she was to become pregnant, she would be given one year of leave, paid, to be with her child. When I told her that I was given six weeks paid leave, she was absolutely astonished. She said, “That’s not healthy!” I wonder what she would have said about all of the women who are not even given one paid day off?
So, what can we do? Talk to your employer about maternity and family leave, and express to them how important this issue is to you. You can also present statistics by visiting this site: http://americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2013/03/08/55683/the-united-states-needs-to-guarantee-paid-maternity-leave/. Call or email your local congressmen or senator and let them know how important this issue is, not only to us, but to our future generations.
Have you had issues with workplace maternity or family leave? Start a conversation by Tweeting, Pinning, or sharing on LinkedIn or Facebook to help spread the message.