Europe is leading in the modernization of parental leave. They allow woman up to 52 weeks of maternity leave with the first 39 weeks paid. Fathers are allowed one to two weeks of paid paternity leave and up to 26 weeks unpaid. The U.S. allows zero weeks of paid parental leave. Prince William will be taking six weeks of paternity leave when his new baby comes. A lot of men are hesitant to take any time off after baby is born for fear of what others may think, however, if we break this view that men shouldn’t stay home then we can make many strides to modern society in the U.S.
If an organization you work for has 50 employees or more the FMLA requires that the employer allows up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. In Massachusetts, however, they are breaking boundaries by allowing dads who work for businesses with as little as six employees to take up to eight weeks of unpaid paternity leave. Though some are against this law when proposed at a national level, because they think it will hurt small businesses, it helps to make a family stronger. By allowing fathers to stay home for a period of time after the birth of their child companies are allowing the fathers to bond with the baby and forge an even stronger bond with the mother. Families are less stressed when they can take time to collect themselves and settle into their new lifestyle.
Its been almost 20 years since 189 countries met at a U.N. conference in Beijing and decided to move towards gender equality among the world. The United States was not one of those countries. Now we are seeing exactly how gender inequality is affecting our nation. Barbara is expecting her second child and is worried about how she will make ends meet while she is out of work due to her pregnancy. She is a private school teacher and does not make a lot of money as is but now that she will not be able to work she doesn’t know what to do. She will use the 20 paid sick days she has earned but after that she is not sure where the money will come from. Barbara is only one of many cases in the United States that have to deal with an increase in expenses and a decrease in income. And by decrease I mean a total stop in income. Apparently bringing a human being into the world is not worth paid maternity leave in the U.S.