Letters to the editor April 15

Why not paid maternity

leave for new mothers?

In 1993, President Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act that ensured new mothers 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world to have unpaid maternity leave, and one of even fewer with a maternity leave spanning only 12 weeks.

Mothers in Finland are entitled to up to three full years of paid maternity leave. Likewise, in Norway, new mothers are offered up to 91 weeks of paid leave from their careers, and northern Canadian mothers get one year of paid leave. So, why is it so difficult for mothers in the United States to get paid for their new jobs as mothers?

Female pay wages already differ greatly from males in the United States, which becomes much more evident once a child comes into the life of such women. As of 2018, women make approximately 85 percent of what males make in the U.S., and increasingly less once these women become mothers.

For single mother households, the drop in annual income is even more prevalent. One would think mothers should deserve to be paid for their time with their new baby, as they have picked up a new, lifelong career of caring for their child.

This is not meant to suggest that the U.S. should give new mothers one to three years off from work while still getting paid, but that the federal and state governments should consider placing a tax on things that aren’t necessary. Nothing major. Just two or three cents on bottled water or soda.

And if a tax does not suit for such occasions, there could be a possible increase in minimum wage, so the government is more able to pay new mothers for  time off.

This is not such a far-fetched plan, what with a small tax or increase in minimum wage, and with the  large number of countries that already implement paid maternity leave, one would think the United State would be close behind with the paid maternity leave.

Hailey Elder


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