May 10 was the American holiday of Mother’s Day, British political comedian John Oliver noted in his Last Week Tonight show on that day. The holiday is a mere token for U.S. women, though, due to the unfair labor laws to which they’re subject. The U.S. does not guarantee paid maternity leave.
When a British woman has a child, her employer must offer 20 weeks of paid maternity leave. Norwegian women are guaranteed 44 weeks, and Canadians get 50 weeks. Even Pakistan, a third-world country with a male-dominant society, has a 12-week minimum of not just maternity leave for women, but paid maternity leave.
Over yonder in the land of the free, though? Women have no such right, Oliver points out. After you have your baby:
Now get the f*** back to work!
Mothers are offered 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it’s unpaid – and women only get it if they’ve worked full-time for over a year at a company with 50 or more employees. And only about 60 percent of all American working women have that type of employment, Oliver notes. Federal workers have this right, but everyone in the private sector is left at the mercy of their employers.
Even worse, the only other country on the planet that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave is Papua New Guinea. (Yeah! Let’s join hands with this poverty-stricken island nation, which only has five medical doctors for every 100,000 citizens, and which also happens to be the world leader in rape and gender violence. Hoo-hoo! U-S-A! P-N-G!)
Oliver covers this topic and its recent U.S. history in the video below:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIhKAQX5izw&w=853&h=480]
While it’s great of Oliver to point out this unfair labor practice, there are quite many more here in the U.S. For example:
- 74 countries offer paid paternity leave, recognizing that fathers could use the same readjustment break for the care of their newborns. The U.S. doesn’t, though.
- 48 nations ensure paid days off to parents who need to care for sick children. But not the U.S.
- 163 nations have guaranteed paid sick leave, not limited to maternity alone – but the U.S. isn’t one of them. And 86 percent of Americans believe they should have this right of paid sick leave (even 81 percent of those who self-identify as conservative).
- 16 percent of Americans say that they or a family member were punished at their workplace, suspended, or even fired for missing work due to illness.
Featured image: via snip of “Last Week Tonight” video