Seth Meyers Explains What Parental Leave Has to Do With Diapers on Babies' Heads
According to Seth Meyers, paid family leave should be a right for all Americans, or else we risk our nation's babies ending up with diapers on their heads.
New dad Seth Meyers wanted to take a closer look at the New York state policy that will allow parents to take eight weeks of family leave, and eventually 12, to spend time with their baby. And of course he did it in his trademarked humorous fashion.
As the Late Night host notes at the beginning of the segment, the U.S. lags far behind other countries when it comes to paid time off for new parents. He jokes, "In Italy you don't have to go back to work until your baby can shave on its own." He adds, "Which in Italy is about 18 months."
Meyers goes on to bullet point the 1993 Family Care Act that stipulates workers can take time off after welcoming a new family member, but they won't be paid. There are tons of pre-qualifications for this law to apply, such as a worker having to be on the job for a full year first, and on a full-time schedule, leading the star dad to joke it has more exceptions than a Groupon.
As the host notes, many parents go back to work right away after baby, and this isn't good for anyone. Meyers cites research that finds when a baby's parents go back to work before 12 weeks, he or she is more likely not to get scheduled immunizations, and more likely to have poor health. And moms who go back to work too soon are more likely to be depressed.
Besides, "Do you want someone who's been up all night with a newborn driving your bus?" he asks. "Or performing your Lasik? Or hosting your talk show?"
In the end, Meyers applauds New York, where his show is filmed, for offering not only moms, but dads 12 weeks of paid time off. Because according to him, research shows dads who don't participate in child care early on often never do, leading moms to do all the work! And that dads don't know diapers go on the bottom, not the head.
The host calls on the government to make paid family leave a right for all Americans, alleging babies will be better off—and properly diapered—if their parents can stay home with them longer.
Do you agree?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.