Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Being a mother is not an easy job


PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Long hours, no pay. A lot of responsibility, no pay. Physical,

emotional and mental exhaustion, no pay. Being a mother, no pay.

For many women, becoming a mother is a great accomplishment. Many young girls and

women dream of the day when they’ll have their own family and live happily ever after,

sometimes however, the road to that happy ending can be a difficult one.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),

the United States is virtually the only country that does not require paid maternity leave.

Glennys Rivera, who is currently expecting, said, “as a mother, financial security is a big

factor in how I can raise my children. For the six weeks that I’m gone from work, I miss out on

three paychecks, paychecks that could really help out.”

The OECD defines maternity leave as “employment-protected leave of absence for

employed women at around the time of childbirth” and according to the study conducted by the

organisation, almost all countries, excluding the U.S. offer income support payments while on


Claudia Vidal, mother of two and an executive at the company where she works at said,

“we [the United States] are playing catch up, and it’s interesting to see. We call ourselves a fully-

developed nation, yet we can’t afford to give mothers the aid that so many other countries give.”

And she’s right. Countries such as Canada, Greece, and Spain each mandate about 15-20

weeks of paid maternity leave, some which offer a 100% equal pay rate, which means that they

get paid their regular salary when on leave.

The lack of paid maternity leave in the majority of the country is an issue that affects not

only mothers, but fathers as well.

Luis Antonio said, “I have three children, and I feel like their mother raised them all,

because while she was home I had to be at work clocking in extra hours to fill the gap from the

lack of paychecks from her job.”

“It’s already a lot of work to raise a family, and so to not be able to financially provide

for your family as much as you can, it stings. It even hurts a little because you can’t be around as

much as you wish you could,” Antonio continued.

Despite the country-wide lack of required paid maternity leave, some individual

companies do have that option.

Shirley Payne, is one of the women who has received pay while on maternity leave.

“I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that does offer paid maternity leave, and

because I’ve received that and I’ve experienced how helpful it is, I understand the outrage that

many women feel when they don’t have the same option as me,” Payne said.

Although the negative sentiments about the lack of nationwide paid maternity leave

linger, the country is slowly progressing. San Francisco has recently passed a law allowing new

parents, both moms and dads, to receive six paid weeks of leave.

Antonio said, “it’s reassuring to see that some cities are working hard to make changes,

and what San Francisco has done hopefully serves as inspiration to other major cities, or better

yet entire states.”

Rivera said, “I can’t imagine a better job than being a mother, and although the love of

my children is payment enough, I would love nothing more than to feel secure and able to

provide for them as much as possible.”

 “Paid maternity leave is not for the mother, but for the chidren. It’s about being able to

provide them with the best resources and giving them a chance to grow up and be the best that

they can be.”

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