Saturday, January 23, 2010

Deep(ish) Thoughts

It's a puke-free world
Woohoo! It's been over two weeks since I was cursed with a bout of morning sickness. I think it's safe to say I've turned a corner, onto a new street filled with lovely things like heartburn, hip pain, and a trip an hour to the ladies' room! :) Seriously, though, I am feeling good, and hate to complain (although I'm getting pretty good at it).

Proud to be an American?
You know how sometimes you have absolutely no interest in certain topics or social issues until they become relevant to your own situation - What? There was an earthquake? (Sorry, terrible example.) Anyways, now that I am forced to learn about things like how much maternity leave I get, and how much of it will be paid and at what %, etc., I am suddenly finding myself a little incensed at the insensitivity our country has toward working mothers - and fathers. I mean, even Russia, RUSSIA!, has a longer leave policy than we do. Rocky didn't beat Ivan Drago to represent a country that would have Adrian treated in such a rude manner after her pregnancy!
Below is a list of a few countries who make the U.S. look like a backwards, barbaric nation of women-hating workaholics. Yeah, totally not bitter or anything.
Family Leave around the World
Maternity Leave Policies*
26 weeks. Most mothers will usually qualify to be paid Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance during ordinary maternity leave. Additional maternity leave available for up to 26 weeks, usually unpaid. A recent amendment makes it mandatory for women to take a minimum of two weeks’ maternity leave immediately after childbirth (four weeks’ minimum for factory workers). Pregnant employees may also be eligible for a Sure Start Maternity Grant,9 a one-time, tax-free payment offered to low income mothers to buy supplies for the baby which does not have to be paid back.10
16 weeks, 100% salary, under the Sickness Benefits Act, "with pregnancy treated as an illness for purposes of the act." If pregnancy or childbirth gives rise “incapacity for work,” the employee is eligible for 100% of her salary for up to an entire year during her illness.11 Also offers parental leave for each parent for 13 weeks, 100% salary and unpaid leave for 26 weeks before the child’s 8th birthday as long as the person has been employed one year.12
3 weeks prior to the birth and 6 weeks after, 100% salary.13 May also take parental leave for 44 weeks at 100% salary or 54 weeks at 80% salary, shared with the father.14
5 months, 100% salary. Mothers may optionally abstain from work for an additional 6 months at 30% pay, and unpaid if the child is ill and under three years of age.12
10 weeks prior to the birth of the child plus 10 weeks after, “with social payments in the amount specified by the law.”15
14 weeks, 7 prior and 7 after delivery, 100% salary.16 Parental leave follows for 76 weeks; 56 weeks at 100% (if 20% is covered by the employer) or 80% salary, 12 weeks at “a low flat rate,” and 12 weeks unpaid. 8 weeks of this is lost if not taken by the father.20
12 weeks, 4 weeks of which may be taken prior to childbirth. After, 24 weeks may be taken, or 12 weeks if shared with the father. 80% salary.20
52 weeks, unpaid.17

Before I lose you completely...
Here's a fun pic of Preston and Matt from the other week. Because blogs are really only worth reading for the pictures, right? :)

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