Is Paid Maternity a Privilege or a Right?
I think that America has the wrong idea when it comes to work-life balance. The wheels of business have to turn for our economy to function, but do we honestly have to spend the vast majority of our waking lives (and sleeping lives, if you dream about work) at work to keep the engine running? There a host of other countries – many of them European – that aren’t mired in poverty. Salaried employees there tend to have more time outside of the office than Americans. I’d wager that they’re happier for it.
Take Paid Maternity Leave, For Instance
Compared with other nations like the Czech Republic, America’s paid maternity leave is pathetic. Certainly it’s an expensive venture to cover a woman’s salary while she’s away from work for an extended period of time. No short term loans can cover that kind of gap, which means tax dollars must be used. And I understand that some object to using their tax dollars to subsidize another woman’s pregnancy. But I simply cannot agree with people like those who would claim that they’re entitled to the same amount of paid maternity leave as a new mother.
2,000 U.K. Women Were Surveyed
Bethany Sanders writes in Forbes that 74 percent of childless women surveyed want paid maternity leave, too. The survey, which originally ran in the Telegraph, shows that most women want the same year of maternity leave (39 weeks paid) that new U.K. mothers receive.
Is it envy? Is it an overwhelming desire for justice and fair play? Or is it all of the above? Whatever the case, it seems to me that the entire point of childbirth, parent-child bonding and the handing over the keys to the kingdom from the old to the young is undervalued. Do they think it’s all a blissful vacation? Being a parent is joyous. It is also a great responsibility – and a time where parents get little or no rest. Such is the way of parenthood. And remember: we all started out as children. Bonding time with parents is invaluable.
Businesses Do the Spit Take
Businesses certainly aren’t warming to the idea of paid maternity for everyone (men included, as paternity). Of course, if the work-life balance was handled properly to begin with, they’d be conditioned to granting more time. The Industrial Revolution took us down the wrong path in this regard, and much of the world still hasn’t recovered. Yet if everyone had a sufficient-sized pool to draw from, perhaps there would be less squabbling and more relaxation.
Childless Men and Women, Listen Up
Your desire for time off is justifiable. And your time is as personal and valuable as another person’s. Yet you’re missing the point. Children are a class of society that deserves privileged status and special treatment more than any other. Having this early time to bond with parents should not be optional. It should be considered a requirement like eating, breathing, sleeping and pooping. Give children that and the odds are even greater that societies to come will be more well-adjusted and happy. Give the children time and we will be rewarded as a whole.
Pregnant women also need extra time to recuperate (or at least to take a stab at recuperation). If you’ve ever been there, you know. I helped keep one alive – twice – so I’ve at least seen it.
Do the Childless Deserve Paid “Maternity?”
They absolutely do not. But we all deserve more time away from the working world. We neglect personal development and family time at our peril. Knock Humpty from the wall and see just how inadequate short term loans are to put him back together again. But if things were different and we needed to buy diapers we couldn’t afford (child or adult diapers) between paychecks, short term loans would be a reasonable option.