It's 2015 And The U.S. Government Has Still Not Standardized Paid Maternity Leave For Moms

The U.S. is behind the times.

Mother's Day came and went for citizens of the U.S. and deserving moms across the country received a day of pampering. From free merchandise at baseball games to flowers to endless, gushy Hallmark cards, it seems moms were given everything they could need or want that day. 

Except for one thing: Paid family/maternity leave.

Meaning? There is no federally mandated standard for family or maternity leave. According to the United Nations, the United States is the only industrialized nation without paid maternity leave.

"Here in the U.S., federal law grants workers just 12 weeks of unpaid leave and there are some stark limits on that," says "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver, like working for a company with more than 50 employees or being a full-time worker. 

He explains that 40 percent of workers are not covered by federal law. 

"So if a worker with no paid leave goes into labor at work, she better hope it's on her lunch hour and her co-workers don't mind if the break room gets messy," he jokes.  

Obviously this doesn't happen too often. But because employees aren't required to pay for a woman's maternity leave, women have to get creative. They might use up their vacation days (and not having a vacation) or putting their time away on credit cards. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor website, a few policy makers have started a paid maternity leave campaign called "LeadOnLeave."

"So far, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and several cities have passed paid leave laws," the site reads. "It's time to update workplace policies that are stuck in the past and give more Americans paid family leave — to take care of sick loved ones and newborn children.

Oliver echoed that sentiment.

"You can't go on and on about how much you love mothers and fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them," he says.


You tell 'em, John Oliver.


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