Paid Maternity Leave: John Oliver Aims Spotlight On Universal Maternity Leave, See What 3 States Are Doing In The U.S.

Paid maternity leave has been a big issue in the United States. Comedian John Oliver aimed the spotlight on universal maternity leave and how the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only nations that don’t offer paid leave for mothers immediately after birth, CS Monitor reports.

The political satirist used the topic in one of his shticks on his show, Last Week Tonight. It’s a very real issue facing new mothers who need to stay home bonding with and caring for their baby.

Interestingly enough, California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey offer extended unemployment disability compensation to individuals taking time away from work to care for a new child. New parents in those three states are entitled to 4 to 6 weeks of family leave. This is funded by a small payroll tax in which business don’t pay anything. The cost for this paid maternity leave program only add up to a few cents to a few dollars per month, Working Mother Magazine explains.

As the magazine plainly states: “Numerous studies show that early bonding with parents sets children up for long-term health and well-being.”

Under the article’s “Powerful Payback” section, studies also show breastfeeding is best for babies and the first several months of life. Women are more likely to cease breastfeeding prematurely due to a demanding work schedule. Breastfeeding babies the first year of life lowers the rate of illness in infants significantly.

Additionally, sleep-deprived parents are give a chance to formulate a routine that is healthy for both them and their children. In other words, the return to work is more successful if the investment in paid maternity leave is made.

A petition called Working Mothers is fighting for paid maternity leave that will be a win-win-win situation for employers, parents, and their children. People interested in signing the petition who want to see change for the U.S. in regards to universal maternity leave can go here.

This is what Working Mother Magazine wrote about what companies can do next to see real change for the U.S. to join the list on universal maternity leave. The following in the magazine’s article was written about leading companies that are trailblazers for parents taking paid leave.

“The Working Mother 100 Best Companies keep a close eye on their competition. And today their competitors are all over the world—in Japan, the United kingdom, Germany, India and China, which all offer paid maternity leave. The first step is to join them. The second, according to Carol Evans, is to allow women the flexibility to design a leave plan that will work best for them and their employer. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. already does this.

After polling colleagues in the firm’s women’s network about what length of maternity leave had worked best for them, Susan Charnaux-Grillet, 34, a Washington, DC–based associate principal, took off ‘exactly the amount of time I wanted, six months, enough to get used to being a mom.’ (She did it by combining the firm’s paid 14 weeks with vacation and unpaid time.) Catherine, now 19 months, is thriving, and so is her mother. When Susan came back from leave, she was ready to resume top-notch work.”

[Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]