Paid maternity leave is a global right for every woman. The percentage of female employees in the US workforce rose drastically by ten percent, from 27%, between 1940 and 1945 (History.com Editors, 2020). As the Allies ended Hitler’s campaign in 1945, an estimated one in every four married women in the country had joined the US private or public industry. This is an argumentative essay about maternity leave, illustrating the US government’s commitment to defend the American dream.
The U.S. falls behind its developed counterparts when it comes to its policies regarding maternity leave. The government implemented a Family Medical Leave Act in 1991 that provided women with 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave (Congress.gov, 1991). This cripples the couple’s capacity to operate normally. We are essentially decreasing their chances to attain the American Dream! Most families in the country have two working parents and live paycheck to paycheck. Imagine this situation with a newborn child and one salary.
Despite the Family Medical Leave Act guaranteeing job safety to these women for 12 weeks, this is not enough. Infants are in dire need of parental care for the first two years of their lives. Most people would take unpaid leave rather than leave their infants with someone else. You could argue that couples make this choice knowingly and should deal with the repercussions but aren’t we punishing people for starting families?
Most developed countries have a stable maternity and paternity leave system with guaranteed pay for a logical period of time. The U.S. does not mandate businesses to pay these people during maternity leave and offers no guarantee they will maintain their jobs after returning to work. This is a harsh system that penalizes people for having families.
Let’s be frank; employers lose precious resources when female employees seek maternity leave. They could argue that some people do not return to work, necessitating them to hire and train new employees. While the argument holds some merit, the percentage of people that do not return to work is negligible. This is mainly because of financial constraints. Forcing these people out of a job basically cuts their lifeline and thrusts them into the harsh unemployment sector of our economy.
We can decide to change this sad narrative for these people by allowing them to stay home for a certain period during which they agree with the employer on remuneration. It is unfair to ask employers to compensate working mothers who come into the workplace part-time as if they were still working full-time. However, it is also unjust to cut off a mother who just gave birth from her income because she has to juggle work and home.
Sweden could act as the best case study for the beneficial effects of maternity and paternity leave as a high-income economy that supports both of these claims. Sure, you can leave your child with a family member since they will most likely ingrain proper mannerisms in the kid, but it does not substitute parental care. Staying home is the only logical solution after giving birth to nurture the child and ensure they are physically and emotionally growing.
How about single mothers that bear the burden of raising children without a spouse for support? The Family Medical Leave Act does not take them into consideration. In the cold, they are left with one option; go to work and avoid starving. We should not assume these women have families supporting them. Our judgment must be based on what is right. Can anyone confidently say three months of unpaid leave is right for them?
So you might be wondering if you do not like the system, why we don’t provide recommendations on what could be done in a fair and just community. Well, the situation is not cut and dry as it seems. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of implementing paid maternity leave as a mandatory condition for employers.
New mothers and fathers are vulnerable following the birth of an infant and appreciate their employers if they decide to give them paid leave. People develop a sense of identity at the workplace and will work harder for an employer they believe cares about their personal growth. Providing people with job security when they are financially constrained shows the employer cares, and employees are encouraged to work harder. The business is also unlikely to see this employee quit.
Our primary focus is monetary compensation for mothers with newborns. These people need financial support and can conduct their duties optimally if they have an income to keep things running.The only drawback concerning maternity leave is that it leads to some monetary loss for the company as the employee is not working. While we are not talking about full compensation, offering partial payment to your employees when they are most vulnerable-not leaving them to the wolves- is only fitting.
Congress.gov. (1991). H.R.391 - Family Leave Act of 1991 102nd Congress (1991-1992). Congress.gov. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/house-bill/391
History.com Editors. (2020, February 28). American women in World War II. History.com. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/american-women-in-world-war-ii-1
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