Hello Friends, today I want to discuss a problem in America that has specifically affected me. In America we pride ourselves on being ‘equal opportunity’. Most often that phrase is used in regards to employment. We strive to be inclusive to race, gender, and sexuality but we don’t care about mamas. I say this because we have no paid maternity leave1. We do have the Family Medical Leave Act that provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The issue there is unpaid, not all new parents can even afford to take this time. I was lucky enough to have a job that provided me with two weeks of annual vacation, which I used when my son was born. I was also able to save up enough money to take 2 weeks off, unpaid. So I was able to take 4 weeks off total, after a C-section. I was not fully healed when I began working again. If the company I worked for had less than 50 people I wouldn’t have qualified for FMLA1. This leaves so many mama’s at risk of losing their jobs or being replaced. More often than not new father’s need to qualify for FMLA to receive any leave when a new baby is born. If your new to your job or haven’t worked full time hours for a year you’re out of luck. My husband had a day or two off and then called in sick the rest of the time I was in the hospital. This puts so much stress on new families. We’re trying to heal, take care of a new baby, and worried about when and if we can go back to work. I was lucky, I had an incredibly flexible job that worked around the doctor’s appointments I had during my high risk pregnancy. I have a support system both during my pregnancy and now that he’s arrived. Not every new mama has these luxuries. How can America claim to be nondiscriminatory when we treat our new parents like this? We are carrying the future generation of Americans, it would be terrible to bring them into this world and as a result become jobless or homeless. Please write letters to your state politicians and ask them to help with a country or state wide paid leave act. It would provide so much relief to new parents. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
1. International Labour Organization. More than 120 Nations Provide Paid Maternity Leave. ILO.com Accessed 16 July 2021