A recent investigation reveals that nearly 1 in 4 employed mothers are returning to work within two weeks of giving birth- and the effects are devastating. In a press call Tuesday, Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, discussed the disturbing findings revealed in an article from In These Times, a monthly news magazine. In reference to the article, “The Real War on Families: Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now,” Bravo says:
“What we are saying to women is either go back before you heal, before you have time to bond with your baby, or rely on public assistance and face the possibility of being called moochers and takers from politicians.”
With only the highest paid workers such as those at Netflix and Google having access to the best benefits, most women are going back to work out of financial necessity. This choice is a difficult one, and the burden is physical, emotional and economically straining. In the article, one mother opens up about having to pump milk in the parking lot on her breaks from a 12-hour shift, crying as she did so. A Chase banker was forced to quit her job to care for her premature infant.
The article sheds a heartbreaking light on the very real effects of the nonexistent parental leave provisions in the United States – As Sharon Learner, author of the piece, points out:
“Families need paid time off to take care of their new babies. Men, women and children will gain from this basic human dignity.”
The United States is the only advanced nation in the world that does not ensure paid parental leave for employees. Some states have taken matters into their own hands- New Jersey, California, and Rhode Island have all put paid leave policies into place, but access to paid family leave shouldn’t depend on where you live. And despite these policies being proven to be beneficial to or have no effect on business, the United States is still falling short when it comes to taking care of families.