Why does the United States not have mandated paid maternity

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Feyokien
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05 Apr 2021, 10:34 pm

and paternity leave?

Apparently the government gave themselves 12 weeks of paid leave in late 2019, but no broad push has occurred yet for the rest of society to encourage families to have children and so on.

A few more things to know about the paid parental leave program

I've read that a majority of both political parties support investing in the future, so why is it not law yet?



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06 Apr 2021, 8:12 am

Push-back from Big Business, which sees mandated neo-natal leave with pay as cutting into their profits.

Push-back from Evangelicals, who see neo-natal care as the sole responsibility of the mother, and no one else.

Even with bipartisan support of the concept, proposals get bogged down in the details:

• Who pays?

• What is covered?

• For how long?


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06 Apr 2021, 9:23 am

The main reason is probably money. Who pays, the employers or the state? If employers had to pay, they wouldn't do so without protesting first, and the hiring of people who are in the age where they're likely to have children would drastically drop, especially for full time and long term contracts and especially for women. Where I'm from we have paid parental leave, which has been slightly longer for the mothers than fathers due to pregnancy and the need to recover from it, but it's now apparently changing so that both have the same amount of time for paid parental leave, and then there's some extra time the couple can divide how they see fit, though that usually falls on the women. This is why women of child bearing age don't find a job as easily as men, especially full time and long term one, since the employers don't want to pay about someone who might not be there at some point and the risk is higher with the one who actually carry the children. So, paid parental leave also has it's problems. If the government paid for it entirely, that'd solve some of the problems, but where would the government get the money from? Higher taxes? Cutting it from somewhere else? Either way, lots of people would probably complain.

The another reason might be cultural; without paid parental leave, it's easier to keep women stuck home, which is something some conservative people want.



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06 Apr 2021, 9:34 am

I'm not American so I don't have any answers for you but I think it's a shame USA can't figure it out. Other countries get at least a a year or two split between both parents. I think it's now 18 months here, but I'm not sure. Even the 12 week government allotment is shameful. Then they wonder why parents get post-natal depression. :( Some of those babies are also shuffled between homes by couples who separate, and most of their time is also spent in daycare as a third location.

I wish there was more being done about this. It's unacceptable from a country like USA.



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06 Apr 2021, 9:44 am

Fireblossom wrote:
... The another reason might be cultural; without paid parental leave, it's easier to keep women stuck home, which is something some conservative people want.
It seems that in many such cultures, religious fundamentalism / evangelicalism plays a major role.

Another aspect of such cultures is the belief that a person's difficulties are their own responsibility, and no one else's.


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06 Apr 2021, 10:29 am

Because it doesn’t make sense to pay people for not working. Your better paying jobs (for the value) are going to be commission based rather than salary based, in which case you should be able to make enough money to afford time off once you know you’re having a baby.

For salaried jobs, paid maternity leave is a perk for a company looking to keep its best employees. If you’re more entry level/min wage, pregnant employees become a liability. “Traditionally” it’s understood that women don’t return to their jobs after having a baby, or they’re “let go” if their intention is to return. It’s illegal for large companies to fire pregnant women, but it’s common to hear about staff evals going down towards the end of the term before a woman gets fired.

So what to do about it? If it means that much to you, bring this up to your new boss the day you come in to sign your papers. You say, “Hey, we’re starting a family and expect paid paternity. Is that something you can do?” And if not, you thank them for their time and walk away. I work for a school and told them straight up I’d be out for a week at the end of August. It wasn’t a big deal because they wanted me to work there. Schools in particular are largely populated by female staff, so they’re used to that. But there’s little point in extended leave for fathers. I was ok with that, tbh, and there’s no way I’m gonna trust a sub to my classes more than a day or two. But I did bring that up when I got my contract to make sure it wasn’t going to be a problem. Any company that wants you bad enough is going to provide enough perks to keep you. But you have to make sure that the company WANTS to give you those incentives. If they are required by law, then it’s not really worth it. You’re nothing special, and the resentment of keeping you just because you’re pregnant and then paying you even if you aren’t there is going to trickle down and ultimately make it more difficult for you to stay. Besides, the best companies understand that parents make the best employees and will actually ENCOURAGE family leave. Leave pay or bonuses are an investment that keeps companies competitive.

If it becomes MANDATORY, then there’s no competition to keep the best employees. Moreover, to even HAVE leave requires companies to plan ahead, which means you really have to keep your $#!+ together to allow for temp hires or reassigning responsibilities. Companies that voluntarily offer paid leave have the flexibility to do so. Mandatory leave forces smaller businesses to adapt before they’re ready, running the risk of losing profits and potentially laying off more employees to compensate. It doesn’t make sense to fire a working employee in order to have enough to pay an employee who doesn’t work. And you have a slippery slope (a real one, not the fallacy) of finding other justifications for forcing companies to pay other employees for not working. If there’s no incentive to work but you still get paid, anyway, why work?

When I worked at McDonald’s, there was a new hire who, after reasonable training (doesn’t take much, btw), just couldn’t do anything right. After the breakfast shift, he dumped grits down the sink. Water was standing in the sink for two days before a plumber could come in and snake it out. Another time, he left a box of meat out until it thawed. He broke the trash compactor shoving entire boxes of meat into it, and the meat ran out everywhere. It was over a week before the mess could be completely cleaned up, and we lost time carrying trash out by hand until the compactor could be repaired. Eventually he got caught loading a couple cases of meat into the trunk of his car. THAT was when they decided to fire him, despite several red flags well beyond what I’ve described here.

I bring that experience up to say this: A business will always suffer any time you incentivize incompetence. This kid lacked the mental capacity to take out the garbage and created more unnecessary work for everyone else. It took getting caught STEALING before something got done when he really shouldn’t have been there more than two weeks. Making leave mandatory has several disadvantages, including disincentivizing productivity and making it impossible to get rid of harmful employees (using pregnancy as an excuse when an employee has a history of incompetence). It also makes paid leave an entitlement rather than a privilege which, in turn, cheapens the value of it for companies that WANT to use it as a way to attract better employees. Just as it was frustrating for me doing my best at a min wage job to see someone who couldn’t be bothered to even try, it’s infuriating for employees who are competitive knowing that someone is getting paid the same or even better who never shows up for work. Creative talent and administration can get passes because those positions don’t normally require a constant presence. Their pay is linked to their ideas rather than their physical labor. Entry level work can’t guarantee the same luxury. The good news is that there’s always turnover in these positions. You have the ability to set aside 3 months of expenses, have your baby, and apply for better paying jobs after. Why is it necessary to require companies to pay employees to not work when employees are more than able to do that much on their own? It makes better sense to let companies decide whether to offer paid leave and to encourage people to be more proactive about managing their earnings.

Forcing companies to do all the thinking for employees is just dumb. If companies didn’t assume that employees could think for themselves, nobody would ever get hired. Forcing companies to give paid leave is stupid for the same reason—successful businesses have no trouble with hiring practices. And because parents tend to be more stable in a corporate environment, company perks that support paid leave are a great idea. Forcing leave on a company carries with it the assumption that the government can run the business better than the owners. If a company has to depend on government, it doesn’t deserve to exist. So if you believe companies that don’t offer paid leave are evil, then get your message out there and make your business more attractive to new mothers. Make your company more competitive and outperform others by providing superior goods and services. Mandatory leave is a dumb idea in the long run.



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06 Apr 2021, 10:48 am

As I said, there is push-back from Big Business, which sees mandated neo-natal leave with pay as cutting into their profits.  Arguing that mandatory paid maternity / paternity leave is bad for business proves this point.

Implying that a pregnant woman is inherently incompetent hints at the same sexist ideology that is a pillar of religious fundamentalist and conservative cultures.


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06 Apr 2021, 10:53 am

Because the U.S. lags behind pretty much all other developed nations in taking care of their citizens.

It's the same with universal healthcare, and a minimum wage that one can actually live on.


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06 Apr 2021, 10:57 am

$15/hour isn’t even enough to live on in some parts of the country.

Minimum wage should be the minimum salary one needs to easily afford a house...in San Francisco.


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06 Apr 2021, 10:59 am

XFilesGeek wrote:
Because the U.S. lags behind pretty much all other developed nations in taking care of their citizens.

It's the same with universal healthcare.


Ha. I wanted to say this too, but didn't want to get political since I'm not a citizen.



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06 Apr 2021, 11:01 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
XFilesGeek wrote:
Because the U.S. lags behind pretty much all other developed nations in taking care of their citizens.  It's the same with universal healthcare.
Ha. I wanted to say this too, but didn't want to get political since I'm not a citizen.
Ahh ... but why does the U.S. lag behind other nations in taking care of its citizens?


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06 Apr 2021, 11:04 am

Because they believe it's OK to have people lose their homes or go bankrupt for medical expenses.

I guess it's in the Constitution or something. It's probably considered a human right to starve to death or die on the street if you can't pay a doctor. I've never understood the lack of dignity afforded to Americans.



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06 Apr 2021, 11:14 am

IsabellaLinton wrote:
Because they believe it's OK to have people lose their homes or go bankrupt for medical expenses.  I guess it's in the Constitution or something.  It's probably considered a human right to starve to death or die on the street if you can't pay a doctor.  I've never understood the lack of dignity afforded to Americans.
It is not in the Constitution, but neither is it prohibited by the Constitution.

While the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution, the acquisition of these things is not -- it is like having a driver's license and not being guaranteed to own a car.

Then there is also the admonition delivered by the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians (1st Thess. 3:10): "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."  This has become fundamental (there's that word again) to the underlying beliefs of conservative Americans who also believe that poverty is a personal choice, rather than a societal imposition.  Nations that have become more secular seem to have largely abandoned this belief.


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Last edited by Fnord on 06 Apr 2021, 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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06 Apr 2021, 11:16 am

Fnord wrote:
IsabellaLinton wrote:
Because they believe it's OK to have people lose their homes or go bankrupt for medical expenses.  I guess it's in the Constitution or something.  It's probably considered a human right to starve to death or die on the street if you can't pay a doctor.  I've never understood the lack of dignity afforded to Americans.
It is not in the Constitution, but neither is it prohibited by the Constitution.

While the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution, the acquisition of these things is not -- it is like having a driver's license and not being guaranteed to own a car.

Then there is also the admonition delivered by the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians (1st Thess. 3:10): "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."  This has become fundamental (there's that word again) to the underlying beliefs of conservative Americans who believe that poverty is a choice, rather than an imposition.  Nations that have become more secular seem to have largely abandoned this belief.


And that Bible verse has been bastardized to imply that people of color are lazy.


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06 Apr 2021, 11:21 am

Tim_Tex wrote:
Fnord wrote:
IsabellaLinton wrote:
Because they believe it's OK to have people lose their homes or go bankrupt for medical expenses.  I guess it's in the Constitution or something.  It's probably considered a human right to starve to death or die on the street if you can't pay a doctor.  I've never understood the lack of dignity afforded to Americans.
It is not in the Constitution, but neither is it prohibited by the Constitution.

While the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution, the acquisition of these things is not -- it is like having a driver's license and not being guaranteed to own a car.

Then there is also the admonition delivered by the apostle Paul to the Thessalonians (1st Thess. 3:10): "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." This has become fundamental (there's that word again) to the underlying beliefs of conservative Americans who also believe that poverty is a personal choice, rather than a societal imposition.  Nations that have become more secular seem to have largely abandoned this belief.
And that Bible verse has been bastardized to imply that people of color are lazy.
The topic of this thread is the lack of paid maternity leave in America, not racial inequality.  It is not a "POC Thing" to deny paid maternity leave to all women.


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06 Apr 2021, 12:22 pm

To be honest, I find it a miscarriage of justice that we don't have paid maternity leave mandated in our laws.