Rise For Your Rights
A recent decision by Donald Trump has propelled the debate about parental leave back into mainstream media. According to the Washington Post, on May 18th 2017, the U.S President proposed budgets for a six week fully-paid parental leave program. Sadly, the country’s half-hearted approach for paid parental leave throughout its history has been detrimental to their citizen’s life aspects such as health and personal economy.
Some Americans say there’s no need for a new paid parental leave plan, as the country already has the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in place. As stated by the United States Department of Labor (DOL), the program offers 12 weeks unpaid leave to new parents. Even though the perk may be pleasing to know at first, let’s dig deeper into the requirements. In general, you have to work for a fifty-personnel company for around a year to have those benefits. The particular guideline deters a large percentage of laborers from being benefitted by the act. Only 16% in the public sector and 11% in the private sector receives support from the FMLA. That’s an extraordinary amount of Americans left to fend for themselves without governmental support.
Next, about health, Forbes stated new mothers are more inclined to breastfeed babies for six months and avoid depression if they have leave for 12 weeks. These health benefits rarely occur among American laborers, as so few of them are even eligible for the FMLA to have the that necessary time off. Even with Trump’s proposal, only 1.3 million people will be offered 6 weeks of paid leave. The planned leave duration is well below the recommended 12 weeks, and would only benefit a minuscule percentage of the American population. The new plan would be nothing more than the FMLA. Then why would you even make a new plan in the first place?
Americans are having a hard time maintaining their kids. According to an article by Business Insider, the average money new parents spent for infants are around three-sum figures per month. Imagine how high the costs would be when the babies get sick. Without paid parental leave, many parents decide to to work again to secure their finances. The act would damage the budding relationship between parents and infants during the beginning months, and risk the baby’s well-being too. Sadly, that is a normality in the country. In an example provided by a Washington Post video, an Uber driver had to come back to work two weeks after giving birth to support herself, because she’s ineligible for the FMLA. And her story’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s very surprising to know that the global superpower is among the remaining three countries that doesn’t have a paid parental leave program in place. Long associated with liberty, freedom, and happiness, the United States has been a political model for other countries to follow, but they’re definitely a follower behind almost everyone else, especially Scandinavian countries, in parental leave. According to the Guardian, Sweden offers 480 days of 80% paid parental leave for both parents to share between each other. Now compare that system to the FMLA and you can see how exceptional the United States is in giving its citizen such a hard time on simple life aspects such as birth.
It comes as a relief to know that the U.S government has finally returned its attention to such an important matter with a formulated plan. Democrats and Republicans seem to have put aside their previous political headlock to develop the new program, as Democrats have long been fighting for better support for breadwinning working class mothers to conservative opposition. However, the future for paid parental leave for American workers is under a cloud of uncertainty. For now.
And by the end of the day, would you continue to live oblivious to the fact that your government refuses to give you basic “universal” rights?