What do you value most in life? Don’t think hard about it, just quickly rattle off two or three things.

Got em’ yet?

OK, so I betcha included in that list is your family. We all generally agree that family is important and needs to be prioritized. So why, oh why don’t we put our money where our mouth is?

I recently saw some compelling statistics from the National Partnership for Women and Families that paint a stark picture of the U.S. and its dubious distinction of being the only industrialized nation in the entire world that does not guarantee some kind of paid time off for employees welcoming a little one into the world. The numbers speak for themselves in showing the immense benefits for families, businesses and the economy for having guaranteed paid leave.

Things like 81 percent of expectant moms do not qualify for our severely outdated Family Medical Leave Act, which guarantees workers to take parental leave, but they won’t get paid. Another surprise for me was that 13 percent of all families become poor one month after having a baby.

See for yourself:

*courtesy of National Partnership for Women & Families.

*courtesy of National Partnership for Women & Families.

What do you think it’s going to take for us to make substantial changes for our families?



When Will We Meet The Need for Paid Parental Leave? — 5 Comments

  1. I’ve seen the stats before and they are upsetting. I had my son while I was working in local news. I had to exhaust all sick and vacation time before they kicked in. Then, I was paid 100% of my pay for several weeks before it dropped to 60%.
    I planned (I’m a control freak and wanted to be on leave during the holiday season) and had my son in November. So, when I went back to work in February it was a new year and my vacation time renewed. I had to accrue sick time, but I could take my personal and vacay days if he was sick. However, I had a co-worker who gave birth in April. When she returned to work, she had a new born in daycare, germ factories, and she didn’t have any paid days to take!
    I currently work for a non-profit. We get 2 months unpaid leave and we have to exhaust all sick time first.
    It will take a lot more planning and thought before we have another child.

    Maybe if we had a female president this issue would be pushed more? I don’t know. The big hurdle is that many of the men who create policies still believe our place is in the home. They think, this is what you get, you want to work, fine. Now, deal with it or stay home with your kids where you belong. I think at our core, we aren’t a progressive society, at least on this issue.

    • Thank you for the thoughtful and spot-on comment! I agree with my friend Jess who said that no one should have to plan like that, but this is the state of our country, isn’t it? I would hope that if we had more female leaders, especially a female president things would change, but I really don’t know. To make any significant difference, a female president would have to get the support of fellow lawmakers. What’s sad is that some of the biggest obstacles I’ve had in my work/life balance has been due to women who are inflexible. It’s like some women worry that they’ll be perceived as playing favorites, being a weak leader or giving special treatment to a fellow woman. It can be maddening.

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