Written by Laura Forer
Peanut butter, Disneyland, better Netflix… yes, there are truly some great benefits to living in the US. But if you’ve ever had a baby here, or know someone who has had a baby here, then you know that one huge disadvantage is the lack of paid parental leave.
Nearly every country in the world—and all developed countries—offer some type of paid leave to new parents (always mothers, sometimes fathers). Except the US.
So I wrote this letter, which lists 13 statistics about how the US is behind and why it’s important to change, and I’m asking for your help:
- If you are registered to vote in the US, please send the letter at parentalleaveletter.com to your representatives. It takes just a few seconds.
- SHARE, SHARE, SHARE. So far this letter has been sent from hundreds of people in 35 states. Let’s make it thousands of people from all of the states.
Of all the issues, why am I championing this one? Because it affects literally every person. Because babies need their parents, parents need their babies, and when paid leave is done properly it actually saves employers money and creates a healthier nation.
Right now paid leave in the US is not done properly. It’s true that some lucky people get paid time off because they work for a generous employer. Google, Facebook, Adobe, and the aforementioned Netflix are just a few of the large tech companies footing the bill. But most workers do not enjoy this benefit. It’s very common for expectant moms to save up all their sick and vacation days to allow them an extra couple weeks to be with their child once their six weeks of disability pay expires.
This means that many new parents in the US have to choose between staying with newborn babies or going back to work. And too often, this decision isn’t made in a matter of months—situations become desperate in a matter or weeks, or even days. 30% of women in the US do not even take maternity leave.
But one thing moms do well is help each other. And we can change this. To learn more about how paid parental leave helps babies, parents, and yes, even employers, check out this letter and then spread the word.
About the Author
Laura Forer is an American who lived in Australia during university and fell in love with antipodean culture. When she moved back to New York, she founded Waltzing Matilda’s Bakery to share her passion for Aussie sweets and treats. Now closed, she currently works in content marketing and, after the birth of her first child, has become an advocate for changing maternity leave laws in the US. Connect with Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org.