Being a working parent is always challenging. There might be a newborn baby who needs bonding time with his or her father and mother or a sick child who needs to be tended too. However, many parents can’t afford to take care of their children if they only use the unpaid leave in the Family and Medical Leave Act.
For that reason, fathers and mothers really need paid leave. The Obama administration is addressing the mothers pushing for paid maternity leave. The administration says that the United States remains the only developed country that still does not provide paid maternity leave.
To emphasize this point, the U.S. Labor Department produced a new video. It compares two women who are pregnant and share the same due date. Both work full time. However, the woman who lives in Germany will get 14 weeks of paid leave. The woman who lives in the United States will not get any paid leave unless it is specifically provided by the company she works for. There is no national paid paternity leave either, meaning that fathers needing to spend time with their children are in the same boat.
This is a problem for working families, says the labor secretary. The lack of paid leave means that parents and their children can’t be together when they need to be. President Obama highlighted this last summer, and Congressional Democrats recently introduced legislation that would provide paid leave.
If paid leave legislation gets passed at the national level, it could empower many parents, especially if it includes paternity leave along with maternity leave. In the meantime, many workers will still have to rely on the unpaid leave they’re eligible for under the FMLA. Attorneys that specialize in this area can advise their clients about their rights regarding paid and unpaid leave.
Source: Huffington Post, “Paid Maternity Leave Push Underway At U.S. Labor Department” Arthur Delaney, Sep. 24, 2014