Recommended Maternity Leave Rules
Conclusions gleamed at the 98th International Labour Conference in June 2009 pointed out that strengthened maternity protection is key to gender equality at work and helps promote healthy women and babies. ILO notes that leave should be a bare minimum of 14 weeks and that cash benefits need to be at a level which ensures that any woman can maintain herself and her child in proper conditions of health and with a suitable standard of living. Other recommendations point out that maternity protection for women workers contributes to the overall health and well-being of mothers and their babies, thus protects overall health for countries on a larger scale. ILO notes that the key elements of any decent maternity protection laws should consist of the following…
- At least 14 weeks maternity leave.
- Paid cash benefits to ensure the mother can support herself and her child during leave.
- Access to proper medical care.
- Protection of the health of pregnant and breastfeeding women and their children from workplace risks.
- Protection from dismissal and discrimination due to pregnancy or newborn care.
- Breastfeeding rights in the workplace.
The United States meets exactly zero of the above recommendations. That’s just sad. If you want to make a positive difference for families in the U.S., it’s best to get involved at the state level. Some states, including California, New Jersey and Washington have already enacted paid leave laws. You can also sign the Working Mother’s petition and check out the best U.S. companies for working women. If you’re an employer read how to create a maternity leave plan.
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