Posts Tagged ‘ maternity leave ’

This Top CEO Is Speaking Out for Paid Maternity Leave (Woo Hoo!)

Friday, December 19th, 2014

maternity leaveSadly, when we talk about maternity leave in this country, we ususally talk about it in the context of a tug of war: Our families need and want one thing, wheras our employers need and want something completely at odds.

But in a pretty groundbreaking and exciting recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, the top executive at one major company is speaking out in support of paid maternity leave—saying that it’s not just good for families, but it’s good for business, too.

Susan Wojcicki was Google’s first employee to go on maternity leave, after she joined what was then startup in 1999—when she was four months pregnant. And now that’s she’s the CEO of Google-owned YouTube, she’s getting ready to go out for her fifth time—and she’ll be entitled to the same 18 weeks of paid leave as every other women in the company.

She points out the sad fact we know so well: The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t require paid leave as mandated by the government. (Let that sink in.) The only ways to get it are to work for a generous employer who offers it, or to live in one of the very few states that mandate some benefits. And as pathetic as that may be for moms, babies, and families, it’s also bad for business, she says.

Wojcicki writes, “After California [one of only a few states mandating benefits] instituted paid medical leave, a survey in 2011 by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that 91 percent of employers said the policy either boosted profits or had no effect. They also noted improved productivity, higher morale, and reduced turnover.”

And she adds, “That last point is one we’ve seen at Google. When we increased paid maternity leave to 18 from 12 weeks in 2007, the rate at which new moms left Google fell by 50 percent… And it’s much better for Google’s bottom line—to avoid costly turnover, and to retain the valued expertise, skills, and perspective of our employees who are mothers.”

So we know that mandating paid maternity leave can be good for every last person and entity it touches, including corporations. Here’s hoping legislation and prevailing corporate policy catch up to that reality before decades’ more harm is done in this country to families—and bottom lines—alike.

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Alesandra Dubin took eight weeks of maternity leave when she delivered twins in July. She’s a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

After Baby: How I Found Flexibility At Work
After Baby: How I Found Flexibility At Work
After Baby: How I Found Flexibility At Work

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pregnant Cop Forced to Go on Unpaid Leave—Is It Discrimination?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Kentucky police officer Lyndi Trischler worked all the way through her first pregnancy—but when her bump got too big for managing her gun belt and wearing her bulletproof vest, she went off patrol duty and onto desk work until her baby arrived.

But for baby #2, she wasn’t given the same option when her bump became too big to manage. That’s because the city of Florence issued a change in policy that wouldn’t allow for job modifications unless the police officer was injured in the line of duty. And so at 23 weeks pregnant, Lyndi had to give up working and go on unpaid leave—and now may need to move back in with her parents in order for her and her older daughter to live until she’s able to go back to work.

Lyndi has filed a complaint against the city, as reports, “alleging discrimination that violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act,” and is hoping to force a change in policy—and get back to work. As she told Today, “I worked very hard to get to this point. This is the career I’ve really wanted. I just want to get back to work.”

Not every line of work would allow for pregnancy accommodations—you may not be able to compete in a marathon, and maybe wouldn’t be able to perform in a ballet, for instance. But if desk duty is a possibility, why not make that accommodation? Hopefully, Lyndi’s police department can get her back in uniform as soon as possible.

Tell us: Did your workplace make it difficult for you to continue working as your pregnancy progressed? How did you manage it?

Keep up with every step of your pregnancy with our Daily Kick newsletters, and don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy to stay informed on the latest pregnancy-related news.

Work-Life Balance in America
Work-Life Balance in America
Work-Life Balance in America

Image: Courtesy of the Trischler Family

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Give a Mother’s Day Present of a Safe Childbirth!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

As your birth may be fast approaching, you might be getting palpitations (I’m not talking about contractions!) about whether the nursery will be done in time, if you’ve picked the best name for your baby, what labor might be like, how you’ll manage money while on maternity leave, or even whether you’ll be passed up for a promotion while you’re at home taking care of your newborn. It can be super-stressful just thinking about it!

But now imagine living in a developing country where just being pregnant is risky. Globally, 800 women die each day during pregnancy and childbirth, and 99 percent of all maternal deaths are in developing countries. (Pause a minute to let that sink in.) Less than half of pregnant women in developing countries visit a doctor, midwife, or trained birth professional during their pregnancy or childbirth because it’s just too expensive. But for the amount you spend on your weekly coffee fix, you can change that.

Kangu—a non-profit organization that crowdfunds safe births for women in underserviced communities in India, Nepal and Uganda (and which will soon expand to parts of Latin America)—gives you an opportunity to donate as little as $10 towards a woman’s birth in a clean, safe facility as well as prenatal and postnatal care.

The idea for the organization came to founder Casey Santiago, a mom of two, when she was in labor with her first son. “I imagined all the women around the world laboring at the same time,” she says. “It was a very intense feeling—I really felt like we were all in it together, helping each other through the contractions and comforting each other in between them.”

After giving birth, savoring every minute with her son in her arms, she was also haunted by the knowledge that so many women—those mamas that she had imagined laboring with—didn’t have access to the services that she did, and might die as a result. “I knew that I had to find a way to connect with those women and direct resources their way,” she says. “And so, Kangu was born.”

Sadly, most of these deaths are completely preventable, she says. “Many women deliver without proper lighting in unclean environments, with an unprepared family member. The majority of maternal deaths come from excessive bleeding, infection, and high-blood pressure, all of which can be prevented with access to a clean birthing place and a skilled helper by your side.”

To me, though, one of the coolest parts of Kangu is that, instead of just giving to a faceless charity, Kangu allows you to virtually meet the pregnant women who are in need of your help, by giving you their country of origin, names, photos, and stories about their lives and hopes for their babies. While you can give year round, this Mother’s Day, when you give a donation to a mom in need, Kangu will also send an electronic Mother’s Day card to the mama you love, telling her you’ve given your present in her honor. And the gift keeps giving! After your sponsored mom gives birth, “you get updates on the mama and baby, often with a photo,” says Casey, so you can see “how you’ve made an impact on the woman’s life and her baby. You’ve become a part of someone else’s birth story—which is very moving.”

Image of flowers courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Christina’s Maternity Leave Replacement: Gwen Stefani!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Christina Aguilera‘s on Maternity Leave, Gwen Stefani Will be Judging The Voice!” Once Pharell Williams was announced as a new judge on The Voice, everyone was wondering whether mama-to-be Christina Aguilera would be back for the seventh season along with Blake Shelton and Adam Levine. Well, the answer is no! But don’t worry, as she takes maternity leave to prepare for baby number two (a girl!), Christina’s leaving her revolving chair in good hands with a fellow musical mama: Gwen Stefani!

Maybe it was a case of pregnancy brain—or just excitement—but Christina didn’t even wait for NBC to make the big announcement; she leaked the replacement news herself by tweeting, “So excited to have you join #TheVoice squad @GwenStefani! Welcome to our crazy fam! Kisses xoxo #blondesdoitbetter.”

Soon after, Gwen confirmed the news for fans, writing, “It’s true! gx @nbcthevoice,” as an Instagram caption to a photo of herself doing the show’s signature peace sign while holding a microphone.

As a brunette, I’m not sure I agree with Christina that blondes do it better, but the show definitely has a type when it comes to their female judges: fair-haired moms! Shakira—who is on the show now—is mother to an adorable 15-month-old son, Milan; Christina has son Max, 6, and a daughter on the way; and Gwen has three boys: Kingston, 7, Zuma, 5, and newborn, Apollo, 2 months. So she should fit right in!

Plus, she’s used to being the front woman to a bunch of guys in No Doubt, so she’s not going to put up with any garbage from the male judges. If anyone can hold her own in Christina’s maternity leave absence, Gwen can!

And, Christina fans, you can take a sigh of relief, the soon-to-be Mrs. Rutler is set to come back for the eighth season, likely airing in spring 2015.

TELL US: Do you think Gwen Stefani will be a good addition to The Voice?

Image of Gwen Stefani via Instagram.

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Why Shakira’s Not Pregnant with Baby #2 Yet

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The singer and passionate judge and mentor on The Voice has been in love with her son, Milan, ever since he was born 13 months ago. She shares photos of him on Twitter (and what a cutie he is!) and can’t stop talking about him in interviews. It seems she wishes for lots of brothers and sisters for Milan (her son with boyfriend, soccer player Gerard Piqué), as she tells Latina magazine that, “I would love to have eight or nine kids with Gerard—my own [soccer] team!”

So what’s the hold up? Something I think we can all relate to: Work! “If it weren’t because of my music projects, I would be pregnant already,” she shares. Working moms are often torn between wanting to move up the corporate ladder—both because they (hopefully) love what they do, and because they’ve got to help bring home the bacon. Babies are expensive (um, understatement of the year)!

Unless there’s a surprise pregnancy, there’s usually a lot of thought that goes into when to try for baby number two. Since there isn’t a universal paid maternity leave in the U.S. yet—and some women are still even being put on unpaid leave while pregnant and possibly getting let go from their jobs for getting pregnant—it’s as much about financial readiness than just emotional readiness.

I know I’ve heard the dilemma from my friends: “If I want two kids, do I have them back to back, so I’m getting my baby-making years out of the way all at once and then can focus more on job promotions?” “Do I spread the babies out, and maybe find a new job in between, because most companies frown upon multiple maternity leaves?” “Can I afford to not go back to work until they reach a certain age? And if so, will I still have a career to go back to?”

So you not only have to worry about the best baby spacing for your family, but for your career too. And it seems the same goes for the rich and famous. I always say, “Pregnancy is the great equalizer!”

TELL US: How did/will you handle maternity leave and meeting your career goals?

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Work-Life Balance in America
Work-Life Balance in America
Work-Life Balance in America

Image of Shakira on Latina magazine via Twitter.

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