Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 40 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/1/16

The Urgency of Family Leave Legislation

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Message Elayne Clift
Become a Fan
  (14 fans)

What do America and Papua New Guinea have in common? We are the only countries without guarantee paid maternity leave. Among developed nations, it's worse: The U.S. stands alone in denying that kind of critical support to new parents.

New Parents
New Parents
(Image by mikecogh)
  Details   DMCA

In over half of the nearly 200 countries that do provide paid leave at last 14 weeks of compensated time off is granted. But in the United States, new parents aren't guaranteed any paid time off. Instead, if they have worked for a certain amount of time at a company with 50 or more employees, they can take 12 unpaid weeks off for the arrival of a new child or for the care of a parent or spouse.

I got a sense of what the consequences are of that situation when I received a petition from two very different mothers, one from Oklahoma and the other from Brooklyn. They had a shared experience: Both had lost babies in daycare because "neither of us had the luxury of choice. Our respective employers would not grant us any more time for parental leave and we couldn't afford to quit our jobs."

Very few babies die in child care, of course, but the tragedy of these two infant deaths, one of whom suffocated, is significant because one in four American mothers have no choice but to return to work just a couple of weeks after the birth of a child. As the two petitioning mothers wrote, "No parent should have to choose between leaving their baby too soon and making ends meet."

Of the 87 percent of parents in this country who have no access to paid leave through their employers, parents with sick or premature infants in particular should not have to leave their babies in neonatal intensive care units, as one distraught mother reported on Facebook recently.

Various studies have shown that for each additional month that a woman has paid parental leave infant mortality goes down by three percent. That is important to note in a country that has the highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation in the world. Further, mother-child bonding is stronger and babies are breastfed more when mothers can stay with their babies longer. There is also less post-partum depression.

Paid parental leave is also good for business. Productivity goes up, along with morale, and there is less workforce turnover.

The vast majority of Americans, whether Republican, Democrat or Independent, now agree that it is important for Congress to consider improving the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. Most of them realize that parental leave is a necessity, not a perk.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Elayne Clift Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Elayne Clift is a writer,lecturer, workshop leader and activist. She is senior correspondent for Women's Feature Service, columnist for the Keene (NH) Sentinel and Brattleboro (VT) Commons and a contributor to various publications internationally. (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

What Happens When "Jane" Comes Marching Home Again?

Is America Really as Safe a Place to Live as You Thought?

Orifice Politics; What the War on Women is Really About

Why Are We Sexualizing Young Girls?

Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Attacks on Activist Women

DSM-5 Could Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend