Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What do the USA, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland have in common?

No paid maternity leave!

Did you know that the USA, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland are among the only countries in the world that have no guaranteed paid maternity leave? Almost all other "western" countries also offer paid paternity leave, but not the US. As of February, California and New Jersey were the only two states that offered paid maternity leave.

The benefits of paid maternity leave include more money in the private-sector economy. How does that work?
If a mother is granted paid maternity leave, her family will not have such a hard time financially taking care of the new baby. (And we know that babies can cost a lot of money to have and take care of!) With paid leave, new parents can continue to spend money on goods and services. Studies have also found a correlation between paid maternity leave and higher earnings over time. Or in other words, women who do not receive paid maternity leave earn less over time.

Women who take maternity leave will also, in my opinion, have better chances at a successful nursing relationship with their baby, in addition to being able to bond with their baby during those important first few weeks of life.

I don't have a solution for how we can get mothers paid maternity leave, but I do feel embarrassed at how behind the US is in this area. Most of western Europe also guarantees paid paternity leave, for goodness sake! For now, I am making sure that I try to support businesses that support mothers.

Happy Supporting,

Sources and further reading:
Huffington Post
Center for American Progress
Working Mother Magazine, November 2011
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