Parental Leave In The United States

1537 words - 6 pages

Parental Leave in the United States"I second the amendment", Senator Henry starts her speech. "It is important to try to ensure that parental leave is paid because those parents who most need to be able to deal with problems concerning their children will not be able to take leave under the current provision" (Henry, 2005, Senate Speeches). Although a well developed country, the United States' parental leave legislation has not been an adequate substitute for parents to care for children as compared to most countries in the world.After eight ears of debate and research in the workplace, the United States passed its legislation for parental leave rights. Parental leave grants the right for employees to take time off from work, paid or unpaid, to care for a child (Issues in Labor Statistics, 1993). The parental leave legislation, also known as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 was developed in the United States when President Clinton signed into the law, February 15, 1993. The FMLA policy is to provide 3 months of unpaid leave to working parents, unless paid leave was established in the parents' place of work. As a means to balance work and family responsibilities, the act is supposed to promote stability and the economic security of families, states the FMLA (2005). However, the act only requires companies to provide unpaid leave for the labor force to take care of these responsibilities outside of the workplace. How is unpaid leave suppose to provide stability and economic security for working parents?The number of women in the workplace has tripled since the 1950s (AFL-CIO, 2004). By 2003 47 percent of the U.S. workforces were women (AFL-CIO, 2004). In fact, 58 percent of working women with children earn about half or more of their total family income, which makes the need for paid leave for family obligations in such families a great necessity (AFL-CIO, 2004). This growth of women in the labor force has made it more inconvenient for women to care for newborn babies. Supporting children and families is difficult for working parents working on unpaid leave alone. "We need to examine the financial benefits available to parents. After all, they are raising children who will support society in the future" (Henry, 2005, Senate Speeches).The need for an improved parental leave policy in the United States is evident by the significant change in the United States' labor force. 60 percent of mothers who have children under age six work. 75 percent of mothers who have children ages 6-17 work. Statistically, 85 percent of working women will become pregnant. These statistics show that the parental leave policy will significantly impact a great number of working Americans and their families.Inevitably, in double income families, mothers wanting to spend more time at home desert their jobs to do so because their companies do not provide an adequate amount of parental leave. Although double income families are in a better position - in a better position...

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