Working parents in the US...worst policy

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Working parents in the US...worst policy
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Sun, 07-08-2007 - 1:37pm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-26-maternity-leave_x.htm

This is disgraceful. Instead of debating the benefits of SAH/WOH maybe we should focus on getting some national policy on maternity leave? At the moment, there is unpaid 12 week leave but only for larger companies. So for the majority of people in the US who work for small companies, technically, they could be fired/ replaced for taking say a week off to deliver a child?

We are in a disgraceful category along with Swaziland, Papua New Guinea and Lesotho. Lovely.

If extended paid leave is untenable for us, why not 6 - 12 months unpaid leave like Australia?

MM (22 weeks pregnant with baby #3 and curious about this "stuff.")

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Avatar for cmerin
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Registered: 01-20-2004
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 2:19pm

Erin
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 2:20pm
I think 12 weeks off unpaid is plenty of time for a business to have to cover for an employee on maternity leave.

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Registered: 07-26-2006
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 2:24pm
I totally agree. It is called capitalism. Sorry but I dont think companies should bear the burden if an employee decides to have children.
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Sun, 07-08-2007 - 2:27pm

Erin
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Registered: 08-27-2005
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 2:32pm
In Sweden, the government pays for the parental leave. For many companies, the leave time is an opportunity to "test out" potential new employees without any strings attached since the companies can hire people on limited contracts and drop them summarily if they don't work out. I know a number of people who have eventually landed permanent jobs this way. They proved their worth to the company during a temp stint and were afterwards hired permanently. The companies use the salary that would have been used for the regular employee and actually usually save money since temps are generally hired at much lower salaries.
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Registered: 09-06-2003
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 3:22pm

That is a great point. I know that here in Canada I felt that as soon as I was comfortable announcing my pregnancy(end of first tri), I told my employer giving them almost a half year to find a temp...which did end up being hired on as they loved her...and I got my job back too. Gov't pays the mat leave up (I think it is 55% up to a max of $1400.00/month and then the employer has the option to top it up(which some do, some dom't and some do on a sliding scale). I ended up staying off on mat leave for 10 months...my husband took the last 2 months and then he stayed off for an add'l 4 months just because he was enjoying it(no gov't support for those 4 months but I was back to my salary which was a lot more than we had been living on for the yr so it was fine)

My ONLY gripe with our system is that the max ($1400/month) that they gov't supplies is just not adequate when the mother is the main breadwinner. Luckily we took that into consideration and saved a "top up fund" ourselves while I was pregnant. It just takes better planning to get over that hump but that would be my only complaint.

I think that because it is "just the way it" that employers generally don't feel burdened to the point that you would think.

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Avatar for myshkamouse
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 3:31pm
My husband is Australian, and I lived overseas for years, so a large group of our friends and family are outside the US. They are all astounded that we get no paid leave at all.
And the argument that its bad for business doesnt gel. The richest countries by GDP all (but the US who isnt #1 and hasnt been in the top 3 for years) have formalized paid leave or longer gauranteed leave. We have no gauranteed leave unless its with a large company and then only 12 weeks unpaid....
For all of our past Presidents focus on "family values," this seems hypocritical at best.
http://internationaltrade.suite101.com/article.cfm/world_s_richest_countries
Avatar for myshkamouse
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 3:45pm

I think 12 weeks off unpaid is plenty of time for a business to have to cover for an employee on maternity leave."

Have to cover? How is an employer "covering" an employee, when they arent paying for them, if they were to allow for 6 months unpaid leave? Temp employees can pick up any / all slack in many roles and they are often less expensive than a tenured employee.

As it is, if you work for say a 40 person company, you arent gauranteed *any* leave at all.

http://www.inc.com/news/articles/200702/family.html?partner=rss

Avatar for myshkamouse
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 4:28pm

Govt should pay it here too. Given the benefits to a good % of our working population, and, the health benefits proven by BF for 6 months +, it would be a policy that would pay for itself taking a longer term look at the economy. We'd lose fewer working women permanently from the work force if fewer felt they had no choice but to quit if they wanted to be at home with their infants.

If we took 1/1000th of our defense budget, or, did away with some of the other fat in the govt budget it could easily be paid for.

Not much to pay for for 12 months unpaid, or say one months paid and an option of taking 5 additional months unpaid...

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Registered: 01-10-2007
Sun, 07-08-2007 - 4:54pm

I agree. While it is good business to have happy employees, and to be able to keep your good employees, it is just bad business to 1) pay someone when they're not working and 2) hold a job open that long by either slowing production or paying a temp. Businesses can't make it if they're forced into paid maternity leave or even long unpaid ones.

As an adult, it's my responsibility to arrange my life in a way that works for me. If that means leaving a job when I have a baby and finding a new one 12 months later, then that's what I have to do. It isn't my employer's responsibility to fix my life.

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