Posts Tagged ‘
maternity leave ’
Friday, December 13th, 2013
They always say not to talk about sex, politics or religion. I’ve already broken the sex rule talking about pregnancy sex on the blog, now I’m about to break the second one! While America is a world leader in a lot of things, maternity leave is not one of them. In fact, the US is the only industrialized nation that does not provide paid maternity leave (many other countries even include paternity leave too, so the proud papa can spend time with his new little one as well). How is it that in a country that is supposed to be all about family values, we put so little money where our mouth is?
Now Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, hope to change that. They have introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, a bill that proposes an insurance plan ran by the Social Security Administration that would provide paid family and sick leave to every employee (whether you work for a private or public company, are full or part time, or self-employed). The idea is that the employer and employee each pay two-tenths of 1 percent of wages (about $1.50 per week for the typical worker), which would fund payments of 66 percent of monthly wages, up to a capped amount for employees on leave, as well as the administrative costs of the program. According to the New York Times, the suggested benefits would range from a $580 monthly minimum up to a max of $4k per month, for a max of 12 weeks within a one-year period.
While I am extremely hopeful that this bill will pass, and I think it should be a no-brainer for a country that says it cares about families and our next generation, I’m also skeptical. You see how difficult it was to pass the Affordable Care Act, and how unpopular it seems to be. What will the fate of this bill be? In my eyes, family leave is clearly a win-win for everyone—it brings a stronger bond to families, and with women (and men) being able to take off time to raise children without worrying about losing their jobs or their promotion capabilities, they will be more dedicated workers, and will have the income to put back into the economy, which in turn helps businesses. Research shows that companies that provide family-friendly policies have less turnover, higher shareholder return, and greater profitability. Other research shows a correlation between short maternity leaves and reduced breastfeeding rates, increased risk of postpartum depression, and higher infant mortality rates. There is also some evidence to suggest that longer paid maternity leaves improve employee retention. When you’re a new mom worried about your baby, not getting anywhere near enough sleep, and struggling with adjusting to parenthood, your job performance suffers. By giving women the time they need after having a baby, you’re ensuring that when a new mother does return to work, she’s able to give her full attention to her job, which benefits her employer. Are you listening, Washington?
It goes without saying that so many women would like to take off time for maternity leave, but can’t afford to, or would like to be able to take off more than they’re able to. This act could potentially change that—allowing every woman who wants to stay home for three months with her child, the ability to do that (or at least more of a chance to since they’ll have 66 percent of their paycheck in hand).
Right now women hold 101 seats—the highest ever—out of the 535 voting members of Congress and the House of Representatives. Only time will tell if men will back the act. But before voting, I hope members of the Congress and House—both Democrats and Republicans—take a good look at who is suffering from not having paid maternity leave in place. The answer is simple: All of us.
TELL US: Do you think all working women should be eligible for paid maternity leave?
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Image of mom and baby courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Hip-hop radio stations and blogs are blowing up with news that Beyoncé is working overtime, having filmed four (yes, four!) music videos in the past two months in order to have the videos—shot in Miami, New York, London and Paris—roll out to promote her upcoming album while she focuses on getting pregnant and taking maternity leave next year. A cootie patootie sibling for Blue Ivy!? Yes, please!
Sure, we’ve heard false Bey pregnancy rumors before, but this could be legit (fingers and toes crossed!). The Queen B is a total professional, and a bit Type-A, so it makes perfect sense that she would want to do the responsible thing and support her album even if she was taking time off for mommy duty part deux.
After all, she told Good Morning America in May: “I would like more children. I think my daughter needs some company. I definitely love being a big sister. At some point, when it’s supposed to happen [it will],” the Grammy-winning singer said with a smile. So it sounds like it’s supposed to happen next year!
She also shared in her HBO documentary, Beyoncé: Life is But a Dream just how much she loved being pregnant, describing it as “falling in love.” “You are so open,” she said. “You are so overjoyed. There are no words that can express having a baby growing inside of you.”
But Mrs. Carter hasn’t had the easiest road to motherhood. She famously revealed in the same doc that she had a miscarriage before having daughter Blue Ivy. “I was pregnant for the first time, and I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life,” she said. “I picked out names. I envisioned what my child would look like, I was feeling very maternal.”
Then she flew back to New York to get a check up, and “no heartbeat,” she said. “Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine…it was the saddest thing I’ve ever been through.” She explains that’s why she was so hush-hush about her second pregnancy with Blue Ivy, “because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
I really hope for Beyoncé and Jay-Z that this news is true (for once!), because they both seem like the most doting parents on the planet, and Baby B would make such an adorable big sis.
TELL US: Do you think it’s true Beyoncé is getting ahead with work so she can take maternity leave next year?
If Beyoncé (or YOU!) got pregnant today, when would the baby be due? Find out here!
Image of Beyoncé and Blue Ivy courtesy of I Am Beyoncé Tumblr.
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
It can be nerve-wracking trying to figure out how and when you should spill the beans about the bun in your oven at work. You could be extra sensitive if you’ve just recently started the job, you’re up for a promotion, or your company is rumored to have layoffs coming up. It’s a very personal decision of when to share your big news, so do it on your own time. But a good rule of thumb for most pregnant women seems to be at the beginning of their second trimester. That way, they know things are going well with the pregnancy, many haven’t fully started showing yet, and it still gives them enough time to work out the minute details about their maternity leave.
But could giving your boss and colleagues too much notice backfire on you? According to a new survey of 432 moms conducted by Slater & Gordon in London, the answer is yes! A staggering 75 percent of women suggested that moms-to-be should actually wait till the last possible minute to tell their bosses that they’re expecting. Why? Because the attitudes of their bosses and colleagues changed once they found out they were pregnant (not in a good way), and a whopping 48 percent felt their chances of rising in the ranks had come to a halt since becoming pregnant.
Suddenly, you’re seen differently in the eyes of your co-workers. You’re no longer the capable, confident go-getter, but fragile. What’s up with that? I’ve had friends who’ve said they’ve been moved from high-profile accounts—without their request—because they required nighttime entertaining of clients, or longer hours, and their bosses felt that those weren’t the right fit for a pregnant woman. Whether it’s intended to be helpful or not—who knows?!—often times bosses take it upon themselves to do what they think is best for you and your family. And by that I mean they think you should be at home more—whether that’s your intended career path or not.
Sadly, for the women in the survey, the news didn’t get much better once they returned from maternity leave. Twenty-nine percent felt that they had been passed over for promotions because they had taken maternity leave, and were now perceived as having family obligations that would prevent them from doing as well of a job as they had done before having kids.
Discrimination is never a good thing, but I really hate that this sort of blatant stereotyping would never happen to men. Fathers aren’t “daddy tracked” in the office, so why are mothers “mommy-tracked”?
TELL US: When did you tell your boss you were pregnant? Did you feel anyone at work treated you differently because you were pregnant?
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Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
I love Shakira! I love her on The Voice. I love her voice. But I do not love her recent comments about maternity leave. Clearly, Shakira’s wearing celebrity-tinted glasses and has no idea what non-famous moms go through. How else could you explain her telling People, “I didn’t have my four months maternity [leave], like every woman on earth has”? Poor Shakira, she had to report for duty on The Voice two months after giving birth to her adorable son, Milan, and all she got in return was a reported $12 million. Meanwhile, the average new mom in America is afforded just three months of leave (not four)–unpaid!–and only if she works for a large enough company.
I get Shakira’s plight, though. I have a 9 month old, and I understand wanting to spend every second with him, and I was fortunate enough to take two months off of work, and then work from home after that because I’m a freelance writer. But that also means no one was paying me during that time off (also, no one was helping subsidize my sky-high medical insurance). That’s a reality for a lot of women.
While paid maternity leave is standard practice in many countries (in Shakira’s native Colombia, women are entitled to 1-2 weeks off prior to birth and up to 13 weeks after at their full salary)—not in the U.S.
The passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, entitles many female workers up to 12 weeks of job-protected medical leave for birth or adoption, but this is without pay. In general, coverage for maternity leave varies state by state and can also depend on how many employees your company has (FMLA only applies to companies with more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), how long you’ve worked for the company, and how many hours you’ve worked in the past year (most policies say you’ve had to have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 hours).
So you have to do your research, ladies. Some women in the U.S. are fortunate enough to get six weeks paid maternity leave, while others can cull their unused sick and vacation days, and in some states you can take temporary disability leave. But the bottom line is that things are not clear cut, so Shakira should stick to talking about music (which she’s great at!), rather than chiming in on a topic she knows nothing about. That said, we still love you, Shakira. Moms (and moms-to-be) have to stick together!
Tell us what you think: Do you think Shakira’s comment was blown out of proportion, or do you think she needs a maternity leave lesson? Leave your comments below.
Image of Shakira courtesy of Shutterstock.
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