country comparison

country comparison - Maternity Leave: US vs Sweden By...

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Maternity Leave: US vs Sweden By Steven Drapkin The traditional way of American life demanded that women stay at home with the children, while their husbands go to work and provide the monetary contributions. Over the course of recent history this tradition has been shifting. “workplace specialists say that in the USA's evolving workforce, the pressure to redefine men's roles on the job — and at home — will increase as more mothers join the labor force and take on jobs with longer hours and higher work demands” (Armour, 2008). With women playing a major role in the workforce, the problem arises of taking time off from work during the crucial first months after labor. This report evaluates the current issues of maternity leave within the United States, its faults, and how it compares to the system in place in a similarly industrialized and economically competitive country, Sweden. There are many important implications for maternity leave. Children who are nursed and breastfed by their mothers, are less likely to develop illnesses and more likely to grow healthier. In addition, the time spent with the children would foster positive emotional and educational development. Furthermore, families would have improved economic conditions because the parent would not be forced to leave work (Heymann et al, 2006) These inferences combined would contribute to a higher quality of life and sanction the advancement of any society. In the United States the current policy on maternity leave came around in 1993 with the enactment of The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The law provides that eligible workers could take up to twelve unpaid weeks off as maternity leave. There are several problems with the policy. The policy provisions qualify only about 60 percent of working women; of these “78 percent […] said they didn’t take it because they couldn’t afford to” (Paid leave for maternity is the norm, except in . .., 2007). Middle and lower class families now more than ever depend on the income of both parents. If forced to leave work without pay, most families would fall into an economic depression that would affect their well being. Job security is another large underlying factor for mothers when choosing to go on leave. The law has jurisdiction over only larger companies, smaller ones do not have to provide any time off. If a mother, which works for one of the smaller companies, chooses to go on leave after the birth of her child there is no guarantee that her job will be available when she is ready to return. After reviewing all the articles for a possible reason as to why there is no legislature for paid and strict maternity leave, no clear cut answer could be found. Few articles focus on the reason for the poor maternity leave in the US instead they exemplify the nations that have similar economic strength and their policies on the subject. The best answer that could be provided would be to say that it is due to the core foundation of our economy. The laissez-fair, free market capitalistic, society
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This note was uploaded on 11/01/2008 for the course COMM 3076 taught by Professor Dontremember during the Spring '08 term at CUNY Baruch.

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country comparison - Maternity Leave: US vs Sweden By...

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