It’s about damn time.
The United States is one of only a few countries in the world that does not provide any sort of paid maternity leave. In fact, it’s the only industrialized nation not to do so. All that could change with the Family And Medical Leave Insurance Act, a bill introduced today by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-CT) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
The Family Act, as it’s being called for short, proposes an insurance plan that would provide paid family leave and paid sick leave for all workers: public or private, self-employed or full- or part-time. Workers could take time off for their own illness or that of a child, parent or spouse; it also includes both newborn and adopted children coming into the home. As described in The New York Times, the funding would be from both employers and employees. The benefits would be capped at $4,000 per month, covering 12 weeks/60 “caregiving days,” a year.
In other words, it is three months paid leave. Keep reading »
Save the breakfast in bed, chocolate, flowers, and handmade macaroni necklaces. This Mother’s Day, I’m after something just a little bit more. On a day created to honor and respect all mothers, I feel that we sometimes fall a little short. And so, I humbly present to you my list of alternative Mother’s Day gifts: Keep reading »
Pop star Shakira gave birth to her son, Milan, back in January. Since then, she’s been hard at work promoting her new gig as a judge on the NBC show, “The Voice.” As part of that promotion, Shakira spoke with US Weekly and weighed in with some thoughts on motherhood:
On getting her pre-baby body back: ”I mean, I guess our mothers and grandmothers weren’t under the pressure that women of today are after delivering a baby. My dad says that there’s nothing better than a little meat on the bone! He likes my mom a little chubby. So she was never under the pressure to get back to her old weight, and she never did, actually! But it’s different, I have a career, and that’s the only part that’s been a bit stressful because I knew that I’d have to come back here to do ‘The Voice’ two months after I delivered a baby. I didn’t have my four months maternity like every woman on Earth has. So I’m not trying to complain, but it’s been a process full of challenges in my life. I’m still a few pounds over! Zumba has been pretty great for me even during pregnancy. I did it almost until the end.”
Sigh. That’s a whole lot to unpack. First, I have to admit to busting out a cackling laugh at Shakira’s seemingly naive lament over not having her “four months maternity like every woman on earth has.” But then I remembered Shakira is Colombian and — oh yeah — it’s pretty much just the United States that is completely screwed up when it comes to mandated paid maternity leave. I’ve ranted about this before, but honestly, it never gets old. The U.S. is one of only four (FOUR!) other countries in the world that does not provide any sort of mandated paid maternity (or family) leave. Keep reading »
In America, we don’t have even have nationwide paid maternal leave. We just have the Family And Medical Leave Act, which ensures three months of unpaid job-protected leave for a new mom. Look and learn, folks, because Australia is putting us all to shame: starting in 2013, Aussies will have the Dad And Partner Leave plan, which guarantees two weeks of paid leave at minimum wage (around $630) for the father or same-sex partner after a baby is born. Australia already has paid parental leave which gives 18 weeks of paid leave at minimum wage for one parent.
Although the minimum wage aspect is not ideal for either plan, it’s so commendable that the country is helping to make it possible for parents to both be at home during those early new-baby days. Why, just look at how overwhelmed this mommy koala is at having to do all the childcare work herself! Keep reading »