Paid Maternity Leave for All: France Did it. Why Not Here?
Just recently, President Obama added another item to his growing to-do list as President of the United States. I mean, he's got immigration to deal with, he's got Russia to deal with, he's got ISIS taking over Iraq to deal with—he's got tons on his plate. But if he thinks this topic is something that needs to be addressed in the midst of global unrest, it might be kinda important.
The topic? Paid maternity leave.
Many of you gals out there are working mothers and have to take a huge pay cut when you have your baby. Yes, technically you are protected by law from getting the axe because you had a baby, but you're still missing out on money. But then again, so people may ask,”You aren't working, so why should you get paid? Aren't you paid for the work that you do?” In this case, the theory is “no work, no money.”
However, every other industrialized nation gives mothers a little bit of money to hold them over while they're taking care of their brand new baby. President Obama himself said, “If France can figure this out, we can figure this out,” which, if you're French, I'm not sure how well that comment is going to sit with you. But that's not the point.
What lawmakers are proposing is that every wage-earning person in the country would be taxed and 0.2% per year. (The original plan was to only raise taxes on people making $250,000+. This hasn't been the case.) So, if you were making $40,000 a year, you would end up being throwing $80 per year into the maternity-leave pot. Now, $80 over the course of the year isn't a ton of money, but if everyone is taxed that much, it adds up to a lot of money going towards paid maternity leave, and that can help a lot of women and their families pay for whatever they may need in a time of tons of transitions.
But is that fair? Is it fair for the perpetually single guy having to pay $80 a year to a service that will never benefit him or his wife? Is it fair for the woman who can't have children or doesn't want children to pay for other women to take maternity leave? It's usually understood that these types of taxes will benefit everyone i.e. if you help someone with maternity leave, you, in turn, will receive maternity pay when you birth a child.
Is fairness really an issue? Some would say that we should be more than willing to help each other out. Think of your sister, your mother, your cousin, your best friend. Would you want others to give a measly 0.2% to women who are trying their absolute hardest to work for their families and raise successful children?
Let me know what you think! What is your take on paid maternity leave in the US?