Sunday, August 16, 2015

Will America Finally Do Right By Moms In 2016?

If you have a uterus, you probably already know US right-wingers want to stalk it with a camera crew backed up by the creepiest religious people they can find to make sure anything that gets fertilized in that business goes all the way to term - even if the process literally kills you. You also know that once you've squeezed out that state-mandated egg drop, these same right-wingers are going to dump it and you into the coldest most unregulated job market they can create. The result is we have a country that does nothing for mothers, potential mothers, and people who decide not to be mothers but harangue them with sanctimonious nonsense.

Yes, you know this. But it's worth repeating because we've got an election coming up, and several - no, most - of the candidates on Team Pachyderm are going to give you more of the same. But the other side is fielding a solid candidate who actually has a uterus, and it works, and she doesn't seem to want to punish you for yours.

So let's review. The International Labour Organization produced a 2014 report on maternity and paternity leave practices across the world. Here are some examples of how it singled out America:

Out of the 185 countries and territories with information available, all but two provide cash benefits to women during maternity leave. The two exceptions are Papua New Guinea and the United States...

About 14 per cent of these countries provide lower cash benefits than Convention No. 183 calls
for (Canada, Iceland, Slovakia – although the level of benefit is set at 65 per cent instead of two-thirds – and the United States). (Bibeau Note: "Convention No. 183" was an ILO convention in 2000 to establish baseline maternity protection standards.)

 Among all the Developed Economies, only the United States does not pay maternity benefits. 

Among the Developed Economies and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a majority of countries meets all three standards. Of the Eastern European and Central Asian countries, all the 16 countries assessed meet all three standards. Among the 29 Developed Economies considered, Canada (amount), Denmark (source), Germany (source), Iceland (duration), Malta (source) and Slovakia (amount) would need to improve just one of the three provisions as indicated in order
to reach the standards in Convention No. 183. In the United States, improvement to all three dimensions of maternity protection would be necessary in order to reach the requirements of Convention No. 183.

In some countries, women who work for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are also excluded from maternity protection laws. For example, the United States’ Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave that may be used to care for a newborn child, but this provision covers only those individuals who work for employers with 50 or more employees at the work site or within 75 miles of the work site. Fifty per cent of workers who are not covered by the FMLA because they work for small businesses declare that they do not take leave, because they might lose their job, while, according to a US Census report, 1 in 5 women list their chosen “leave

arrangement” as quitting their jobs. 

In the United States, nearly one-quarter of mothers who took family leave for the birth of a child in 2012 returned to work after less than 10 days, since they could not afford to take more time off work...

In the United States, pregnancy discrimination claims grew faster (at 31  per cent) than all job bias claims between 2005 and 2010 (ILO, 2012b, Module 9). Since 2001, US courts have paid out US$ 150 million in damages in pregnancy discrimination cases.3 It is not clear whether these increases in complaints reflect rising discrimination (particularly in the context of the economic crisis), or increasing awareness among workers of their maternity rights, but they do reflect the persistence of job dismissal and employment discrimination on the basis of maternity.

You want to help build the middle class in the next administration? Let's start by supporting the half of the workforce which is clearly doing double-duty for the rest of us.

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  1. Wait... you don't have Maternity Pay in the US?!?!

    1. You're having one of those "I thought the US was a civilized country" moments. I know, I know. Yeesh.


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