Co-Workers Donating Vacation Days, Is Paid Maternity Leave Really This Bad?

by | August 22, 2018

Expectant mothers in the U.S. are living in one of only two developed countries in the world that don’t mandate paid maternity leave, and some employees are coming up with creative ways to take care of their own.

Washington parents, Taylor and Ross Richendrfer discovered just how bad the maternity leave situation is in the U.S when their child, Aidan, was born nine weeks prematurely and needed weeks spent in the hospital, leaving Taylor short of the paid time she desperately needed to care for him. Her leave from work was the same as many other parents in the U.S, unpaid.

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The couple quickly realized that even though they had been doing everything they could, saving money, both having good jobs, that they were facing financial implications only a week after their son was born last August. So Ross came up with a creative way to get around the situation. He ended up crowdfunding maternity leave for his wife, and raised over $5k as well as raising awareness around the issue.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Ross stated; “It occurred to me that my pride, our privacy, don’t outweigh Taylor and Aidan getting to spend time together, and this most crucial time in our lives.”

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Taylor added “I just broke down to my husband and I said, ‘I don’t want to go back to work the day [Aidan] comes back from the hospital, emotionally, I just can’t handle that.”

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paid maternity leave

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics states that although companies who have 50 or more employees are legally required to give employees 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, only 15% of private workers in the U.S and up to 25% of state, local, or government workers are eligible for any type of paid maternity leave. Put in layman’s terms, although the law provides you with time off after you give birth, it doesn’t provide you with any financial protection during that time unless you are one of the few workers who qualify.

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While it is heartwarming to see co-workers banding together to see their fellow colleagues are taken care of and get paid maternity leave in creative ways, it is also disappointing that a country as well developed as the U.S is still so far behind on looking after the people who bring the next generation into the world.

What is the paid maternity leave situation like where you live? Let us know in the comments.

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Alex Jones

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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