Thursday, February 01, 2007

Somebody, Stop the Insanity

"[T]he U.S. is one of only five countries out of 173 in the survey that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave; the others are Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea."

In light of this shocking statistic, something must be done, right?

I know! Let's consider scaling back our already way-too-generous unpaid (gag) family leave benefits.

WTF? Are some lawmakers actually considering this? Apparently.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is being opened up for public comment and anything can happen - they could expand or reduce our benefits. We can help our lawmakers make changes to improve this law by voicing our opinions on what families need - more time home with our newborns not less. Go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Website to leave a comment or go to to share your opinion.

Thanks to Christina for raising this issue earlier this month. She wrote a post on this topic that was actually intelligent (as opposed to the drivel you are reading here). I encourage you to read her post if you haven't already.


p.s. I've tried to keep my sidebar buttons to a minimum but I had to add this one. Girl's Gone Child linked to it earlier this week. To find out more about the button and the force behind it, go to


Also, if you'd like to nominate a fellow blogger for a ROFL Award for a post they wrote in January, please e-mail me by February 5th.


Blogger Ruth Dynamite said...

This is nuts! Six weeks isn't long enough as it is.

3:35 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Your post is just as important and relevant as mine. Because the more people who spread the word about what is going on, the better.

It's sad to me that real, useful family legislation, including federal paid maternity leave, probably won't affect me, since this is likley my last pregnancy. But if it will help other women, and help my children someday, from having to make tough choices of working or seeing their children, then it's worth my time and effort to fight for it.

Thanks for the link to the study, too. It's good to see another study pointing out how backwards this country is in regards to this! Now if the government would only listen.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Much More Than A Mom/The Opinionated Parent said...

It's pathetic. As a Canadian who gets one year paid (if only at 30% of my salary, at least it's something) I think we should get together as North Americans and start some kind of a campaign. Faced with the prospect of returning to work in April, I actually feel that it should be 2 years paid. I can extend and have my job held unpaid for an extra year, but we can't afford it so it would be nice to have that little grocery fund to be able to stay home. Sound greedy? Maybe, but I think our kids are worth it.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Oh, The Joys said...

Off to check out the button...

7:26 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

WOW. That is totally insane! 5 in the world huh?

7:33 AM  
Blogger Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

It does seem like we are incredibly behind with maternity leave, especially when our neighbors to the north allow for what is really necessary, a year of time off with a child. That first year is so crucial for bonding and routines and breastfeeding and so many firsts happen during that year as well, it is the very least a mother should be able to have without lsoing her place in the workforce or having to fall below the poverty line.

8:04 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

What gets me is maternity leave is considered "disability" leave.

Some man must have thought that up!

When I lived in Australia, my co-workers were getting a year off -- now it was unpaid by the company we worked for. They may have received some sort of subsidy from the govt. I don't know. And one of my friends had her job eliminated when she was on mat leave so she only had 6 weeks to find a new job when she came back.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous ali said...

y'all just need to move to canada...

9:48 AM  
Blogger aka_Meritt said...

.... and a FULL week of work in France is 35 hours. :)

We were so desperately in need of money when I had my first two kids that for the first one my boss brought some work to my house for 2 weeks to let me do it from home and with the second baby I was back in the office the very day those 6 weeks were up and the Mothers Day Out program would accept him.

(We only brought in $1100 a month when BabyGirl was born!!! And our rent was $700 alone.)

4:49 PM  
Anonymous chelle said...

Wow 6 weeks ... that is so heartbreaking! Then in Canada we are fighting for a second year because most mothers feel that one year is not enough (the second year would be unpaid, the job position or equivalent would be guaranteed though). I received 67% of my salary when on leave, it all depends on how much you make.

5:23 PM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

Family values, yeah right.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Tanner said...

In Sweden the mom gets one full year off and then the father gets a full year off. I can't believe how far behind we are!

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Poor Swazilandians.

(Let's all move to England.)

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

I read about this and left my comments. It makes me sick to see that a supposed superpower non-third world country treats it's mothers (and children) so poorly.

On a somewhat different note about how screwed up this country is, did you read about the US not supporting an international governing body for environmental protection? 46 countries support it. The US, China and India did not. Here's the article if you're interested.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

Whoops! That got cut off. Here's a shortened version:

6:38 PM  
Blogger Catch said...

When my DIL had her babies my son got 6 weeks off for maternity leave on his job!

10:52 PM  
Blogger dodo said...

wow. we get six months paid leave (the first few weeks at 90% of our regaulr salary and then a statutory minimum kicks in)(although some companies offer more generous retainers on top of that to encourage women to coem back) then the option of taking another six months unpaid - during which time our jobs must be held for us. This is about to change so that it's nine months paid. paternity leave is two weeks, but I think that's still unpaid

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Dana said...

This just gets my goat. I was jipped on maternity leave when I had my son and I still can't believe how our government refuses to support us. And yet all the politicians claim to be family oriented and concerned about child welfare. SURE. THEY. ARE.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I don't know how six weeks is supposed to be long enough. My child was still breast feeding about every other hour at that point. I can't even imagine how I would have worked a 9 hour day and been up all night with him if I would have had to be at a workplace each day.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Dirty Birdie said...

I had to go back to work after 6 weeks and it was aweful. I am determined to save enough to take my full 12 weeks next time. Hell you aren't even half way normal by 12 weeks, let alone 6 weeks.

The way this country treats mothers is appauling.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

The U.S. and Swaziland... sure, why not.

We are a country of liars... we claim our children are our priority and then we make it as difficult as possible for mothers to care for said children...

We need to take a tip from Canada.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous AdventureDad said...

It's a bit late but I couldn't agree with you more. I think parental leave is crucial to a child and family's well being. To give the whole family a good start the first year makes a big difference down the road. I've seen both approaches, no parental leave and also a lot of benefits, it's easy to see what works best for the family.

Here in Sweden we have 480 days paid parental leave per child (plus many other benefits for our kids). That means that mother and father can combine children with careers and don't have to make a choice. A while back I wrote up a little post about some of the benefits here in Sweden. If you want to see a country who puts family and kids first you might want to take a quick look at it. It can be found here ,
, I guarantee that you will not be happy about the benefits in the US..... I know since I lived there half my life but left when we had kids. If you are interested in some more info in the subject, please feel free to contact me


8:04 AM  
Blogger Mommy off the Record said...

Just when I was planning a move to I'm going to have to change my ticket.

Sweden here I come!!

10:07 AM  
Blogger Granny said...

I signed up with another mom yesterday (at least for their emails). I already belong to moms rising (and moveon).

I don't know if you know I co-write a small political blog in addition to the extremely non-political "granny" but I'll spread the word there.
Is America Burning

2:14 PM  
Blogger Granny said...

For some reason that link doesn't work.


2:16 PM  

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