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Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 32 Day 1 - Americans Have Never Heard Of Paid Parental Leave


You probably all know by now, that William and Kate had a baby boy today. There aren't any names yet, at least not released to the public. I'm sure it will be something long and obnoxious. But after reading some of the news reports, I noticed something "strange" to me, and probably every other father in America. William is taking two weeks paternity leave.

Paternity leave? What's that?

If you aren't familiar with the laws here in the United States, there is NO law that mandates any parental leave, after the birth of a child. We do have the Family Medical Leave Act, which basically saves your job position for a period of time, depending on the situation. Child birth is a situation that is covered, however only up to 12 weeks, and not guaranteed paid time.

In the UK, female employees are entitled to 52 weeks of maternity leave, 39 of which are paid. The first 6 weeks are paid at 90% of full pay, and the remainder at a fixed rate. The father is also entitled to 2 weeks paid after the child is born.

Sweden allows 16 months to new parents, with 2 of those months reserved for the minority parent, usually the father... All 16 months are paid at 80% regular rate, split equally between the employer and the state.

Even Canada, upped the parental leave from 10 weeks to 35 weeks, in year 2000, and the time is to be split between the parents, if they choose to do so. This is in addition to 15 weeks maternity leave.

Our lovely country, the land of the free, and the land of the unpaid leave, the United States of America, allows 0% paid maternity and 0% paid paternity leave. Now you can possibly get short-term disability, through your company, and some companies have maternity/paternity leave. But by law, there are no requirements. The Family Medical Leave Act allows 12 weeks to the mother and the father of unpaid leave.

I believe that President Obama is trying to change some of the parental leave situations in America, but that's only what I have heard. I don't know that for a fact.

There are organizations out there, trying to push for better laws mandating parental leaves for new mothers, and even fathers. Whether it will ever go into effect, who knows? They are too worried about same-sex marriages, and spying on the citizens. Canada, can I move to you?

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