• This Sucks!

    by Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD
    on Sep 2nd, 2015

A few days ago, Marissa Mayers, CEO of Yahoo announced that she was pregnant with twins and planned only to take limited time off.

Unlike most employed women, this was her personal choice.

The US national maternity leave policy sucks. Incorporated within the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 - a female employee who has worked a minimum of one year in a business with at least 50 employees can get up to 12 weeks of UNPAID maternity leave. This is the only national maternity leave policy among the developed nations that does not offer paid maternity leave. Canada provides paid maternity leave. Mexico provides 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.

To obtain income during an unpaid maternity leave, a woman would need to either apply for a maternity leave loan, file for temporary disability or unemployment compensation.

Some US states have chosen regulations which provide more extensive maternity leave benefits. Currently, only three states - New Jersey, Rhode Island, California- have mandatory paid maternity leave. All fifty states have a voluntary paid maternity leave option.

We need to do better. Shame on any presidential candidate that doesn't support paid maternity leave.

Author Sharan Abdul-Rahman, MD

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