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Author Topic: Maternity leave
PSRT
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http://www.ilo.org/travail/areasofwork/maternity-protection/WCMS_145724/lang--en/index.htm

There's a lot of data available in that report. The bottom line is that, in terms of paid maternity leave, the US is in some pretty awful (and extremely limited) company.

In the US, the vast majority of women who have children each year have to go back to work within a matter of a few weeks of their child's birth in order to keep the household financially functional. Many women end up leaving the labor force, not because it makes financial sense for their families, but because they have to in order to provide care for their children. Without paid leave, this often causes severe financial hardship, leading to a host of negative outcomes for the children.

Most developed countries offer at least 8 weeks of paid maternity leave... enough time for any initial health problems for either the infant or the mother to be dealt with, enough time that breast feeding and therefore health benefits associated with breast feeding usually continue until at least 6 months, and so on. In addition, this provides a significantly less stressful environment, which means overall better parenting.

Some countries go even further, with significant early childhood benefits of the sort that we believe provide significant benefits throughout the child's life.

We are way, way past due to pass a national paid maternity leave bill. The one that is floating through congress is a disgrace. It offers 4 weeks paid leave, which is better than nothing, but not nearly good enough from a country that has the level of wealth we do.

We could easily offer 12 week paid maternity leave. But it will never happen. Our political dynamics are truly anti-family and anti-worker, and paid maternity leave is something that is currently primarily available at the upper income levels, so our congress creatures don't see it as any sort of priority. In fact, its politically toxic, because it either will cost government dollars, or it will require businesses to figure out how to pay their female employees who have children.

But, you want to invest in families, and children?Paid maternity leave, and even better, paid parental leave, is one of the most important policies that we can implement.

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TomDavidson
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No argument. None. Our treatment of maternity leave is ghastly.
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DonaldD
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I've had this discussion with US co-workers more often than I can count: the lack of support for parental leave in the USA is mind boggling in the rest of the western world.

Considering that industry has reaped the benefits of the effective doubling of the workforce that came with almost universal female participation in the past 30-50 years, arguments against subsidizing post-natal support for parents is unfortunately par for the course in the USA.

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OpsanusTau
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I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only way for women to have equality in the workplace (and it's a necessary but of course not sufficient condition) is for adequate parental leave to be available to both parents, and for both parents to be socially expected to take the leave (regardless of who, if anyone, gave birth).

Otherwise the pattern of employers systematically preferring not to hire women of potentially-childbearing age (and related wage and workplace discrimination) will remain the most rational course and will continue.

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JoshuaD
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: the only way for women to have equality in the workplace (and it's a necessary but of course not sufficient condition) is for adequate parental leave to be available to both parents, and for both parents to be socially expected to take the leave (regardless of who, if anyone, gave birth).

Otherwise the pattern of employers systematically preferring not to hire women of potentially-childbearing age (and related wage and workplace discrimination) will remain the most rational course and will continue.

This sounds exactly right to me.
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PSRT
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I also agree.
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Wayward Son
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Dang it, isn't there anyone here who's against motherhood? [Mad]
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KidTokyo
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I'm pretty sure my mother was.
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scifibum
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quote:
...for both parents to be socially expected to take the leave...
Thank you for this. I think it's a really key point in a lot of discussions about employment and wage equity between the sexes, and it's too often assumed or even argued that women are going to necessarily take the bulk of parental leave.
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PSRT
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I wonder what the breakdown on that is in places like sweden where its paid parental leave.
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Pete at Home
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If you want someone to argue against you on this you'll have to bring G3 back. [Smile]

I agree with ops' proposal but her caveat of "regardless of who, IF ANYONE, gave birth, was a bit too much for the straight face test. I don't think we need to actually feign ignorance of the birds and the bees to make society more equitable. Babies don't grow on shrubs. If somebody didn't give birth, no need to awarrd maternity leave to mommy or daddy. I guess that gives male same sex couples a hiring advantage, though. What a quandary [Big Grin]

[ January 20, 2014, 07:48 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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scifibum
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You don't think a newborn needs some extra time and attention at home from its adoptive parents if neither of them gave birth to it?

Oh, never mind. I see the joke. If there's no baby. But when you extended it to the hiring advantage, I was momentarily fooled into thinking that you were thinking that adoption wasn't a scenario where such leave was needed. Since obviously same sex male couples are going to adopt newborns sometimes and need leave.

[ January 20, 2014, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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AI Wessex
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quote:
Originally posted by KidTokyo:
I'm pretty sure my mother was.

Uh...
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Pete at Home
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Point. But if a newborn is being adopted, some one gave birth [Smile]

Hopefully we won't legalize polygamy; it would seem abusive to have some dirty old plig getting a continuous free ride because he's shagging a bunch of fertile teenagers.

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OpsanusTau
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An employer of which I am aware has a policy that I think moves in the right direction. It's something like, if there is a new baby (maybe even, a new child) in the family of an employee, the employee gets some kind of New Parent leave - I want to say it's three months, which at least is something. If the employee gestated and gave birth, the employee is eligible for some additional medical leave to allow for recovery, as needed.

Pete it's not my fault if you're not yet mentally living in my science-fictional future with artificial gestation tanks. I figure, if I'm imagining a just world I might as well also imagine a world with external uteri.

Amongst Scandinavians of my acquaintance, it is generally held that in a two-parent family both parents should take parent leave for each child. (Scandinavian social structure being what it is, intentional single parenthood is more common than here.) Usually both don't take all the leave at the same time - again at least in my acquaintance. In Norway fathers have to take at least 3 of the total allotment of 10 months of paid leave, and each parent may also take up to an additional year unpaid.

ETA:

If we really need someone to come out against "motherhood", I could probably take my usual stance against prescriptive gender roles and then apply that argument to parenting. I'd rather not though. LOL.

[ January 20, 2014, 10:33 PM: Message edited by: OpsanusTau ]

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Hopefully we won't legalize polygamy; it would seem abusive to have some dirty old plig getting a continuous free ride because he's shagging a bunch of fertile teenagers.

Yeah. It would be tricky to figure out situations where there isn't a legal marriage. The youngster still needs the same benefit, but it's easy to imagine someone trying to game the system to some degree.
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Pete at Home
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The youngster may need the attention, but if dad's a plig, he's not going to take the time to care for that kid. He's going to use that time to find more teenaged girls to knock up.
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Seriati
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Not a single heathen to argue with on this thread? Excellent point OpsanusTau about the need for parental leave generally, and particularly about the need to create an expectation its used. Too often fathers and adoptive parents have the importance of their spending time with new children questioned.
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yossarian22c
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Yeah, I'll argue, we should offer 52 weeks of paid parental leave to split between both parents. With a maximum of one parent getting 40 weeks. So if the man doesn't take at least 12 weeks the couple is loosing the benefit. That would create the expectation that men would stay home for at least a while. I would have loved to have stayed home for the first 3 months of my kid's lives but taking a week was pushing the boundaries of what my employer found acceptable.

This would also do wonders to reduce the cost of daycare. The older age groups have higher prices to subsidize the infant rooms.

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scifibum
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*Spread out the cost of daycare.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
If you want someone to argue against you on this you'll have to bring G3 back. [Smile]

Then let's get this party started.

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
We could easily offer 12 week paid maternity leave.

Who's "we"?
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PSRT
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Federal requirements, G3. Whether its paid for through payroll taxes, or mandated that businesses with a certain number of employees create a pool to pay for maternity leave by a mechanism of their own choosing. Or whether we just print the money to pay for it and mail the checks. The benefits far, far outweigh the costs.
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NobleHunter
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I think Canada runs maternity/parental leave using as unemployment insurance type things. I've no idea if the US federal gov't has the authority for such a program.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Federal requirements, G3. Whether its paid for through payroll taxes, or mandated that businesses with a certain number of employees create a pool to pay for maternity leave by a mechanism of their own choosing.

So just force everyone to do what you believe is "the right thing"™? Nothing better than using force to make people do "the right thing"™. Whole lotta wrongs out there, gotta get'em right.

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Or whether we just print the money to pay for it and mail the checks.

Sure, why not. If we're gonna do that, why not just make maternity leave something that goes to at least 5 years old? Very important years in childhood development you know. For that matter, why not until the reach their teens? Kids really need their parents around full time during these confusing times with social media and all. Plus they need rides to soccer, karate, play dates, all that. Probably just need to extend the time out until they learn to drive. Hey, it's for the children and if you disagree at all then you must be against motherhood!

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
The benefits far, far outweigh the costs.

That's merely your opinion.
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PSRT
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quote:
So just force everyone to do what you believe is "the right thing"™? Nothing better than using force to make people do "the right thing"™. Whole lotta wrongs out there, gotta get'em right
Do you vote?
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G3
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I vote for policies and people that minimize, if not eliminates, the efforts to force others to give up their freedoms or earnings in the name of "the right thing".
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PSRT
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Interesting. That sounds like you vote to have most people have extremely limited choices in life. THat doesn't sound like freedom to me.

Sounds like you are voting your opinion and your view of "the right thing," at least as much as I am. Probably more so, since I at least presented some of the reasons why I think providing paid parental leave would be beneficial. Sounds like you just don't want to do it because it might cost some money. So lets fund this by printing money, which, since it would be printing money to pay people to raise their children, would be money that would have a high velocity in the economy, which would mean more economic activity... so I'm not seeing why it costing federal dollars is a problem. Especially since federal stimulus is a huge reason that our economy has stayed afloat after people voting your policies crashed the beejesus out of it 6 years ago.

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PSRT
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quote:
Sure, why not. If we're gonna do that, why not just make maternity leave something that goes to at least 5 years old? Very important years in childhood development you know.
Honestly? If its parental leave? I'm not seeing the downside. Just about everyone agrees it would be better for families all around if one parent stays home with the kids. As long as the parents get to decide which parent that is, and we are not forcing one partner or the other to stay home? Seems like a win to me. ANd, most social science would probably agree with you.

Do you have anything other than sarcasm?

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Interesting. That sounds like you vote to have most people have extremely limited choices in life. THat doesn't sound like freedom to me.

I can't imagine why you think it sounds that way. I prefer people have the most freedom and choice they can, that they keep the fruits of their labors.

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Sounds like you are voting your opinion and your view of "the right thing," at least as much as I am.

Exactly wrong. I am voting to let people decide on their own what the right thing to do is, free from government intrusion and well meaning busy bodies.


quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Probably more so, since I at least presented some of the reasons why I think providing paid parental leave would be beneficial.

Just because you present reasons you think something is so good we should force people to do it against their will don't make good.


quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Sounds like you just don't want to do it because it might cost some money.

I don't buy into it because it's you (the generalized you, not you specifically) forcing people to spend their money the way *you* see fit.

quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
So lets fund this by printing money, which, since it would be printing money to pay people to raise their children, would be money that would have a high velocity in the economy, which would mean more economic activity... so I'm not seeing why it costing federal dollars is a problem. Especially since federal stimulus is a huge reason that our economy has stayed afloat after people voting your policies crashed the beejesus out of it 6 years ago.

The bubble was caused by Democrat policies but let's not derail...

So run the presses and print the hell out of the money! When should maternity leave stop? Why then? It's good for kids, frigging incredible for the economy apparently, why not have maternity leave continue for 5 years? 10 years? How about 18?

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by PSRT:
Do you have anything other than sarcasm?

Sorry, I am totally not even trying to be sarcastic. You are inferring sarcasm where none exists.
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msquared
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G3

If the people vote to pay for this through taxes, would you support it? Even if you did not like the idea?

With the social contract, there will be times when I have to pay for things I do not like. But it works for the other side as well. There are those who do not like the military, but they pay for that, since, as a people, we have agreed that we need a military.

You do not get to pick and choose which social policys your taxes support, once the vote has been done. And by vote I mean if the congress, either state or federal, approves it.

msquared

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by msquared:
If the people vote to pay for this through taxes, would you support it? Even if you did not like the idea?

I would comply with it, I have no choice. The threat of force would keep me in compliance.

quote:
Originally posted by msquared:
You do not get to pick and choose which social policys your taxes support, once the vote has been done. And by vote I mean if the congress, either state or federal, approves it.

Yep, once the vote has been done, that's it. I have to comply or get fined, go to jail, firing squad, whatever the penalty. I can still work for repeal, vote for the efforts and people that support the repeal. The vote is not always forever.

Not sure what your point is.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I prefer people have the most freedom and choice they can, that they keep the fruits of their labors.
You're familiar with the negative liberty/positive liberty discussion, right? Do you believe that positive liberty as it's normally defined should be a concern of the state?
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G3
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I am, why don't you give a summary for those that aren't so we can all have a common understanding.
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DonaldD
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I think Tom's point is that you seem to be focusing on negative liberty to the exclusion of positive liberty.

Do you accept there is such a thing as positive liberty, and if so, do you accept that there could be an acceptable trade off where having some amount of positive liberty at the expense of some amount of negative liberty would be a positive thing?

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