Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who's Raising the Children?

The United Nations published figures on international trends in maternity leave benefits as of 2005. Guess who pretty much ranks dead last in guaranteed time off with pay? The United States, with Australia a close second. Many African countries offer three months or more leave with full pay. Brazil gives 120 days. Vietnam gives four to six months, Spain guarantees 16 weeks, Norway gives A FULL YEAR. Croatia gives 45 days before delivery and a full year after. Those are just the figures for 100% wages. The pay is generally shouldered partly by the employer and partly by the government. Lots of other countries offer at least a portion of pay guaranteed for leave, including Canada, which gives 17-18 weeks at 55% pay, paid by insurance. Australia gives 52 weeks with no pay, and US comes in at 12 weeks with no pay. Countries that do not help women care for their children are risking the health (physical and mental), safety, and wellbeing of, not just the children and their parents, but of the nation itself. It is in everyone's best interests to make sure children have the care, love and nurturing they need in their first year of life.

7 comments:

Susan Edwards said...

I found an interesting addendum to this story in the UN staff rules on their website (http://www.un.org/staff/panelofcounsel/sr1063.htm): Maternity leave for UN employees: 16 weeks at 100% pay. Good to see they put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Great article and VERY interesting! We as americans think we are sooo much better off then the rest of the world. We really are not! We are neglecting our children and eachothers needs, we have more lawyers, psychiatrists, and therapists than anyother country - maybe because we are definately crazier than anyother country.

Sally Painter said...

Wow! What an eye-opener.

Anny Cook said...

Yep. I stayed at home because I couldn't afford to go to work. And then I worked late nights at MacDonalds so my husband could watch the kids. Swell place we live.

Anonymous said...

it will take women 100 years for us to be of equal liberations as men. I assume that we make 76 cents for every dollar men make. Hows that for sweety pie?
what an over statement! good research to all of you!

Leah Braemel said...

You missed a step on the Canadian stats. Canadians can take the partly-paid maternity leave, and then either parent can apply for another twenty weeks of unpaid parental leave - so you end up with almost a year home with your baby. A couple planning to adopt a child can also apply for parental leave. Of course, you have to be able to afford that, but it's there if you want it.

Susan Edwards said...

wow! Another good reason to move to Canada!