Nothing's Changed

>> Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I ran across an article today about how the US is (still) behind when it comes to parental leave. Not much has changed since the last time I mentioned this from another corresponding article.

Currently, the US has the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which allows family members to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. A lot of families/individuals can't afford to take unpaid leave so while this act is nice for some, it's useless for others.

I will say that there are companies who have their own family/medical policies in place that involve paid leave but those companies are usually far and few between. I am very fortunate enough to work for a company that is flexible with schedules and is supportive of all of their employees' families' needs.

The recent article mentions that California and New Jersery are the only states who currently have a paid-leave program in place (bonus points for them!). However, other states are being encouraged to do the same and if so, they could receive federal help in return. In my state, a measure was passed in 2007 for paid leave but was never put into action due to a lack of funding. Maybe this could change things.

I hope to see more of a push in updating this policy for all states. We're one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet one of the last to implement any sort of program to benefit families. And this isn't just for parental (including adoption) leave but also for those who need to care for a family member or maybe some time for themselves for wellness.

The last time I posted this there was a comment from one person who didn't support or believe in maternity (parental) leave. Unfortunately, all the Blogger comments are hidden by Disqus (grr) so I can't see the comments posted. Anyway, I recall this person saying they didn't support it because they felt that one should be prepared in advance for the arrival of their newborn plus they didn't want to have to pay taxes for something that wouldn't serve them (I'm assuming they weren't planning on having children). While I a point...this policy is more than that as mentioned above. But in the case of maternity leave, again, not everyone has the capability of being fully prepared financially or in other things in advance of their baby's birth (one hopes they try though). A little assistance never hurt anyone. And as far as taxes go, we all pay for things we don't always agree with or utilize. Some programs (taxes) are a waste while others I believe are necessary. A new and improved (paid) FMLA is one I would agree with. But that's just me.

Your thoughts?

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