Oh hey USA, I do like to see you campaigning for a paid maternity leave scheme for yourselves.
That’s ultimately the problem for working moms at every income level—maternity leave, if it’s offered at all, is all too brief. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that new mothers breast-feed exclusively for six months and continue breast-feeding until the child is a year old. That’s much easier when you’re in the same room as your kid. The Family and Medical Leave Act requires companies to give employees only 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, and that applies only to companies with more than 50 employees and workers who’ve been with a company for more than a year.
If Americans are committed to encouraging women to breast-feed, the biggest help won’t be covering the cost of breast pumps. It will be catching up with the rest of the industrialized world by offering paid maternity leave for longer than a scant three months. (For perspective: Uzbek mothers get 18 months; Iranians receive 16.) Until then, we’ll be waiting here in this cramped pumping room.
From the Bloomberg Businessweek.
(More of my thoughts on maternity leave: Why you should support paid maternity leave? Because I already have it and you deserve it; Maternity leave as a human rights issue; We must not walk away from this fight; and Let’s get something straight about maternity leave).