Parental Leave


Remember when the President said that pregnancy was an inconvenience to employers back in 2004? Actually, it was wrong of me to bring it up, it was over a decade ago and I’m sure he has grown into a mature adult since then…

The new administration has been talking about parental leave. In Trump’s speech to Congress, he mentioned the need to ensure new parents have paid family leave. But before we celebrate, let’s look at the president’s proposal. In his address, he specifically says “paid family leave”, which begs the question of what he means by “family”. As it turns out, the proposal asked for maternity leave for married woman who gave birth. As of now there is no federal requirement that employers offer paid parental leave but the law offers unpaid time off for three months but many parents can’t afford to not have a paycheck for that long.

The proposal is inadequate because it excludes single mothers as well as low-income mothers. It would only provide six weeks leave to the mothers because apparently, it is unthinkable that a new father would want to spend some time at home to bond and take care of their babies. Other developed countries like Norway puts the US to shame. Parents are entitled to 46 weeks at full salary, or 56 weeks at 80 percent pay. They believe in both parents’ involvement by having either of them stay at home with pay until the child is over one year of age. They also make sure that fathers share the responsibilities by having them stay a home with the kids for at least a few months because otherwise the leave will be shorter; fathers are strongly encouraged to take the time off to be with their babies.

We need to get a few lessons from them because when it comes to parental leave, they excel.


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