Having a baby is supposed to be one of the most joyful times in a person’s life. Unfortunately, many new parents don’t get to enjoy for long before facing serious financial and professional pressures.
Last Week Tonight took time out to remember the moms that are often shafted by current provisions for maternity leave. Companies are required to provide it, but an employee has to meet a set of requirements to be eligible for it. For example, a woman would had to have been a full-time employee of a company with at least 51 workers for more than a year before getting to qualify for federally outlined maternity leave.
That leaves part-time employees, freelancers and new hires at a distinct disadvantage that would almost force them to use their sick leave and vacation days to cobble together makeshift maternity leave.
“This is not how it’s supposed to work. Mothers shouldn’t have to stitch together time to recover from childbirth the same way we plan four-day weekends in Atlantic City,” show host John Oliver stated during his commentary.
“There are women that want to get back to work as soon as they can–and that’s obviously fine,” he continued. “But for many women, the current situation forces them to return well before they want to.”
Many companies do offer unpaid family leave, which acts as little more than a guarantee that you won’t lose your job for taking some to care for your new baby. However, some moms aren’t even afforded that “luxury.”
“That’s if your pregnancy goes according to plan. If a baby’s born prematurely, parents can be forced to make some truly heart-wrenching choices,” Oliver said, before launching into a clip of a woman named Selena Allen that had to return to work on Monday after giving birth on Wednesday.
Can you imagine trying to hold it together at work during postpartum while your baby is still in the hospital? That’s not something any mom should have to go through!
One way to call this issue to attention and effect change would be to sign a petition on the official White House website, but the last such initiative for improved maternity leave was archived and closed back in 2013 because it did not meet the signature requirements.
However, there is a new petition for Paid Family Leave on WhiteHouse.gov that needs to reach 100,000 before June 10. Supporters are asking the White House to consider measures to meet certain standards for maternity leave set by the International Labor Organization.