165 see ben shore maternity and paternity leave the

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165. See Ben Shore, Maternity and Paternity Leave: The Small Print, BBC NEWS (Oct. 20, 2010), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-i1587797 (comparing the maternity and paternity leave of six countries). 166. Document 33 Id. [Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMIL Y BALANCE 100% of the employee's salary. 16 7 In Norway, mothers may take 46 weeks at 100% pay or 56 weeks at 80% pay, and fathers may take ten weeks at 100% pay. 6 8 However, the United States may be more open to adoption of a system similar to Iceland's, as it would represent a less dramatic shift in policy than adoption of a more generous plan. VI. RECOMMENDED CHANGES TO FMLA BASED ON THE ICELAND ACT ON MATERNITY/PATERNITY AND PARENTAL LEAVE As discussed, the Iceland Act presents a number of key differences from FMLA and could serve as a model for amending FMLA to better promote work-family balance in American families. 16 9 This section will specifically address changes that could be made to FMLA and provide an analysis of how these changes would facilitate greater work-family balance for working parents in the United States. A. Equality Does Not Mean Neutrality The first change I recommend based on an analysis of Iceland's law is to amend FMLA so that, rather than being gender-neutral, it provides that mothers and fathers have an independent, non-transferrable right to take a specified length of leave. 170 Furthermore, the amendment should clarify that a parent loses the opportunity to take such leave if it is not used within the one-year timeframe currently granted by FMLA. 1 71 The United States could also mirror the Icelandic law by providing an additional period of leave that parents may allocate 167. WORLD ECON. FORUM, supra note 6, at 78-79 tbl.E1. 168. Anne Chemin, Norway, the Fatherland: Paternity Leave Law Helps to Create More Equal Households, THE GUARDIAN (July 19, 2011), http://www.theguardian. com/money/2011/jul/19/norway-dads-peternity-leave-chemin (stating that Norwegian parents can divide up to 46 weeks of paternity leave at full pay or 56 weeks at 80% pay and that the time reserved just for fathers is ten weeks). 169. See discussion supra Part V (proposing the Iceland Act serve as a model for future amendments to the FMLA). 170. See Iceland Act, supra note 95, § TV, art. 8 (noting each parent has "an independent entitlement to maternity/paternity leave"). 171. Compare id. (indicating that each parent's independent entitlement to leave is not assignable), with Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(2) (2012) (noting the expiration of FMLA leave after 12 months of birth or placement). 20151
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HOUSTON JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW between themselves as they choose, which would treat parenting couples as partners in the childbearing endeavor. 172 By contrast, in FMLA's current form, the only provision that acknowledges spouses jointly is the provision that addresses spouses employed by the same employer.
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