Discussing Maternity Leave - How long should it be?

Karla - posted on 05/29/2012 ( 114 moms have responded )

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I posted this in another thread; a bit off topic. So I thought I'd give it its' own spot.

Did you have maternity leave?
How long was it?
What country are you in?
What are your views on the following information?

I don't even know if this is all completely accurate, I don't know many people who have 12 week maternity leave in the US, It's more likely a 6 week leave.

The Huffington Post just put this out:
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Here are the maternity leave benefits for 43 developed countries in 2011, from shortest to longest periods of time. Are you surprised by the findings?

United States:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 12 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: No national program but cash benefits may be provided at the state level.

Iceland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 3 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Germany:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Japan:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 67

Malta:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

New Zealand:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Switzerland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 14 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Belgium:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 15 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 82 per cent for the first 30 days and 75 per cent for the remaining period.

Finland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 105 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 70

Slovenia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 105 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Austria:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

France:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Latvia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 112 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Luxembourg:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Netherlands:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Spain:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 16 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Greece:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 119 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 50

Australia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 18 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Each parent can take up to 12 months of leave, of which 18 weeks are paid.

Lithuania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Belarus:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Moldova:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Ukraine:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Romania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 85

Portugal:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 120 to 150 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Parental benefits paid at 100 per cent for the shorter duration of leave and 80 per cent for the longer option.

Estonia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 140 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Poland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 20 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Russia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 140 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Italy:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 5 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Bulgaria:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 135 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid:90

Hungary:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 24 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 70

Ireland:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 26 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Czech Republic:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 28 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 60

Slovakia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 28 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 55

Macedonia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 9 Months
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Not found.

Norway:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 36 to 46 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: Parental benefits paid at 100 per cent for the shorter duration of leave and 80 per cent for the longer option.

Albania:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 365 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80 per cent prior to birth and for 150 days after and 50 per cent for the rest of the leave period.

Bosnia And Herzegovina:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 1 Year
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 82 per cent for the first 30 days and 75 per cent for the remaining period.

Canada:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 55 per cent at 17 weeks for maternity leave, and the additional 35 weeks can be taken by either parent. Wages also depend on province.

Croatia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 1 Year
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Denmark:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

Serbia:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

United Kingdom:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 52 Weeks
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 90

Sweden:
Length Of Maternity Leave: 420 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 80

Link

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/22/...

Graphic concerning:

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=maternity...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Krista - posted on 05/30/2012

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I live in Canada, and Happy Mama, you'll be delighted to know that nobody else's tax dollars went towards my maternity leave.



Basically, from the time we all start drawing our first paycheques, we pay into Employment Insurance. It's there in case we get laid off or otherwise lose our jobs. However, you can also draw into Employment Insurance for maternity leave.



So I was able to take a year off when I had my son, at no cost to the taxpayers.



Happy Mama, you DO realize that saving several months' worth of living expenses is often out of reach for the average working family, right? Not to mention, you act as though it is only YOUR taxes that would go towards other peoples' maternity leave. If your taxes in the U.S. were spent on useful things like health care and maternity leave, the people who are using it would also be paying into it, you know. Believe it or not, not everybody who advocates for a stronger social safety net is a lazy freeloader. I pay taxes. I pay pretty much just as much taxes as your husband does. But I am HAPPY to know that some of my tax dollars go towards helping sick people obtain medical care, even if they are people who have never worked a day in their life.



I guess it really illustrates the difference between the U.S. and other countries. The U.S. seems to have this giant epidemic of resentment -- resentment at the idea that someone, somewhere, might be benefiting from someone else's work. Whereas here in Canada, for the most part, we seem to understand that at any point, any one of us could need those services, so we don't mind paying for them, even if they're used disproportionately.

Krista - posted on 05/30/2012

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At any rate, we're getting derailed a bit by the idea of welfare. This is about maternity leave. And frankly, for a society that touts itself as being all about family, the U.S. has the most UN-friendly family policies in the developed world.



Allowing women the option to stay home with their babies for a year makes for emotionally healthier families, I think. It also would make it easier for women to breastfeed. Plus, believe it or not, a year-long mat leave can have other benefits. If your employer hires someone for a year-long contract to cover your duties, then that person receives some excellent work experience, which they might not have obtained otherwise. One of my colleagues is on maternity leave right now, and her work was divvied up between myself and someone on contract. I've had the fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and meet new challenges. It will help me in my career -- of that I have no doubt. Our contract person has also obtained some excellent skills and experience, which should help her have a bit of a leg up for future opportunities. And, my aforementioned colleague gets to be home with her adorable baby for a year. It's win-win-win.

Johnny - posted on 06/02/2012

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Mary, I'm not disagreeing with you, but I do have one note on our EI program. It doesn't just cover mothers, it covers parents. Basically, the baby is entitled to 52 weeks of having a parent at home. That can be either the mother or the father. The father is entitled to having his position saved for a year as well. We know a family for whom this worked out quite well. The mother had recently finished her law degree and wasn't sure about taking a whole year off. The father's company looked like it might be going under, and he might be laid off. So he started paternity leave about at the birth, she took 6 weeks maternity, and he stayed off until the baby was 10 months. It put them in a far better financial situation and meant that he was able to wait to find a better job instead of worrying about getting cut off employment insurance. They had a second child and she took 6 months and went back to work, he kept working. When they had their third, he stayed home again and actually never went back. He became a SAHD. So the program isn't just about moms at all, it's really about the baby.

Krista - posted on 05/30/2012

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I guess I just don't understand this mindset that says, "Well, if you choose to have a baby, that's your own damn problem, and I don't want any of my tax dollars paying for it!"

Um, that baby is going to grow up to be a taxpayer, you know. That baby's taxes will help contribute to the social niceties that YOU enjoy, such as roads, policing, fire services, the military, other infrastructure, etc.

Even if mat leave in Canada WASN'T paid via EI but was paid via taxes, I would have no issue with it. Those women who are going on mat leave, they paid taxes too, you know.

It's the same reason why I don't resent my tax money going towards health care. We are all in the same boat, we all pay taxes. Yes, some people use the service more than others, but really...who fucking cares? Am I going to be so petty and grasping as to pay attention to such things?

Jodi - posted on 05/30/2012

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Happy Mama, I can totally tell you are from the US. It is incredibly obvious - the US seems to be the only place where taxes pay for nothing (health care, maternity leave, unemployment benefits, pensions, etc). Call me a socialist, but do you ever consider who might care for you if you ever have to go through bad times? Or does that not ever happen in your little bubble?

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♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2012

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Thanks. My husband may be a natural born citizen, but he's not always reliable on Canadian benefits unless it's health care.

MeMe - posted on 08/08/2012

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It is good till the age of 18. When they become an adult, you no longer will receive the CCTB.

Canada child tax benefit (CCTB)

The Canada Child Tax Benefit is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under age 18.


http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4114/...

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2012

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Meme I didn't catch that! The UCTB also only lasts until your child turns 6. I have 2 children and since my older one is 7 I only get the CCTB for her. The CCTB lasts until your child is 16 according to my husband

MeMe - posted on 08/08/2012

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Ashley-- I hear ya. When I had my son 21 months ago, I had to take $15 000 out of my RRSP's just to make it through the year. As I wanted to ensure we still had close to the same cash flow coming in, as we did when I was working. I lost a lot with the E.I payment because you only get 55% upto $45 000/year. I make a fair amount more than that, so I really only got about 40% of my regular earnings. It was a big chunk out of our monthly allotment.

Now, with this baby (due in February) I will only be taking 6 weeks vacation and then working from home for a year. I don't have another $15 000 in my RRSP's that I am "willing" to take out.

I make the most in our household. My husband is not far behind but we need both incomes to remain living the way we are used to and want to. So, I agree, it is not easy but there is always a way. Before you know it, the year will be over. ;)

MeMe - posted on 08/08/2012

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Krista---You'll also get an additional $100 a month for Childcare Tax Credit, and another payment (amount depends on income) as your Universal Child Benefit.



Just a slight correction. It is the other way around. Universal Child Benefit is $100/month and is given to anyone, regardless of income (because you have to claim it as income on your taxes). CCTB goes by how much income you make and is not claimed as income, at year end. If you make less than $25 000/year, you get the full amount (approx $325/child).

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 08/08/2012

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I only marked your post funny Annie because the quote about happiest country in the world made me smile. That's all I really had to say.

Annie Matilda - posted on 08/08/2012

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I have lived for some time in Scandinavia and it's a whole lot different than the US.
There are many different things to discuss but yes most women work, if not all capable of doing so. Therefore all of the kids are in daycare by the time they are 1 years old or so. It is considered very unhealthy for the kids not to be in daycare as it can cause the kids to be antisocial and have a hard time once they start school.
The mothers go on maternity leave at least a few weeks before birth, some even 3 months before. Once the baby is born the father can take 2 weeks off. Then the mother has the next 9 months alone and then the father can take 3 months off. The baby will be a year and start daycare and 100 % of their wages have been covered.
I should also inform that they pay about 60% in taxes, which goes to their free schooling and free health care and what not but I'm not sure about maternity leave.
People are very different when it comes to health care and what not in taxes but I've seen this system first hand and I think it plays a big part in their happiness. I mean come on! Happiest country in the world!! :)

Krista - posted on 08/02/2012

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It CAN be a bit tight, Ashley. Keep in mind, though, that your expenses will be a little lowered due to not having to drive to work (if you drive). You'll also get an additional $100 a month for Childcare Tax Credit, and another payment (amount depends on income) as your Universal Child Benefit.

We did find things very tight the first time I went on mat leave, because I was only making $11/hour at the time. So 55% of that is basically sweet-f**k-all. I was fortunate in that my parents helped out a bit every month.

Ashley - posted on 08/01/2012

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I am just starting to figure out maternity leave (I am in Canada). I am honestly not sure HOW we are going to budget for 45% less of an income, I was expecting my company to provide a top up and found out today they won't. I feel bad complaining because I know some people get hardly anything and do not have the help of a husband who works, but I have always been the budgeter in my household and am worried about not having time or the energy to budget correctly and my husband also is seasonally employed so he will be on a reduced income for the winter (baby is due Dec 1st) so we will be down 2 incomes. I have worked for years and paid into my own E.I.
I am however glad to live in a country where I can at least have the option of getting help and a year of leave, can't imagine how hard it must be for people who get almost no time or no assistance.

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 07/03/2012

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Oh FFS! I just posted!

BTW I took 8 weeks of maternity leave when I lived in NY. And now I've been off work for just over a year since I can't work here in BC. I'm going crazy!

♥♪Megan♫♥ - posted on 07/03/2012

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COM isn't posting anything and I have to keep refreshing :P Then searching. It's bollocks!

When I lived in New York I was fortunate enough that my state allowed maternity leave to be covered by disability so I was paid 45% of what I made each week. It was a pitance since I worked per diem at both jobs, but hey it was money that some women in some states don't get. I was also fortunate enough to be in a job that gave me stability and guaranteed that I would at least have a job (if not my original assignments) when I came back to work. My SIL was also lucky to have that plus the benefits that my brother's job offers. Many women in the US don't get that.

Reading the OP I'm saddened and disgusted that less developed countries (which also have a lower infant mortality rate than the US Thank you very much) have better maternity care options than the US and even Canada (thank you new country :P) I think saying 'that's just the way the US is' is a crock of shit. The problem in the US is that so many people are complacent and believe that it's just the way it is and no one and nothing can change it. If you do your research on your candidates and make sure you are voting ones in with a damn spine who should be voting for the people they represent then you can get shit done.

Janice - posted on 07/03/2012

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What about an insurance option instead of more taxes. I have read on this thread about employee/er insurance - EI - and if we could give people the option to pay into something just like that I think many people would. Our Canadian friends say it doesnt cost much and it would cover both maternity leave and unemployment.

Aflac is a company that does offer extra supplemental disability insurance which can be used for maternity. My company offered it and I paid in. Between NYS disability insurance and Aflac insurance 8 weeks of my 12 weeks of leave were paid almost in full.

But if I had suddenly switched jobs I would have lost what I paid in and many jobs dont offer it at all. If we had a federal insurance system it could follow you from job to job and it wouldn't matter how many places you worked or how many employees the employer as long as you put in lets say at least 52 weeks and 20 hours per week. Also if you were self employed their could opt in too. If you dont want to pay in, you dont have to. So if dad isn't worried about losing his job or taking time off upon a child's birth (beyond vacation) then they dont have too. Or if you never plan to have children you dont have to pay. Or if you are okay with not getting paid maternity leave you dont buy in either. I think many families would buy in though.

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2012

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That's great. Out of the last 5 posts I can see, 4 are us posting so we can actually read the thread. And apparently COM is no longer replying to complaints....

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2012

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You the people seem to focus your attention on complaining about politicians at least attempting to fix your healthcare problems or improve the lives of average Americans rather than getting upset because of military overspending. I see very little anti-military spending rhetoric and a whole lot of anti-middle class families rhetoric. You are your own worst enemies.

Sherri - posted on 07/03/2012

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Not sure how you say we support it. We only have two or three people to be able to vote into office. It isn't like we the people have too many options.

Krista - posted on 07/03/2012

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However, it just isn't how the US does things. They would just up our taxes big time to cover it.

Well, that IS what happens when people support politicians and media personalities who act as though making a tiny cut to defense spending would be akin to giving in to the terrorists. It's frustrating -- you guys can't make legitimate criticisms of military spending without being accused of not supporting the troops. It's emotional blackmail.

Krista - posted on 07/03/2012

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Man, it's annoying that posts won't show up. I have to post, to basically make all of the other posts appear.

Sherri - posted on 07/03/2012

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@Krista that I would be for. However, it just isn't how the US does things. They would just up our taxes big time to cover it.

Isobel - posted on 07/03/2012

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you have a military budget that is larger than the next 26 countries COMBINED! Perhaps you could take a few schekels out of that pile and use it to support families....maybe

Johnny - posted on 07/03/2012

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Bah, you Americans spend a vast fortune to make sure that you have created a military industrial complex that can not be equaled by putting all the militaries of all the other nations in the world together. Yet you can't pay for healthy happy families? That's one twisted, wacked out sense of priorities my friends.

Krista - posted on 07/03/2012

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You know, Sherri...nobody here is suggesting RAISING taxes. They are simply suggesting that perhaps some of the tax dollars you ALREADY spend could be better spent on providing decent maternity leave to mothers.

Maybe a little bit less could be spent on the Pentagon, and a little bit more spent on American families. Just a thought...

Sherri - posted on 07/03/2012

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No Way I positively refuse to pay more taxes for such a thing. Holy crap now you are going to pay more for this stupid Obama care, more for this what actually in the end are you going to be bringing home at the end of the day. My guess NOTHING!! Lets just work to pay more and more and more taxes!!

Karla - posted on 07/03/2012

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Jakki,

"Let's all pay our taxes to support reasonable provisions for new mums. (Oh - I'd make an exception for those on high families incomes - they shouldn't get any help)"

I feel like it's for the betterment of our Society - especially in the long run. If we value family that will make for happier, healthier people, etc.

As for not helping the rich, I would agree, but not because they "shouldn't get any help" but because "they are not in NEED of help." If they could demonstrate a need (because of cash flow issues, etc.) then I would not be opposed to helping them. I would assume they might pay into the Employment Benefit at a higher level as well.

[deleted account]

From everything I've read and from all the conversations I've had,and from having three kids myself, I think it is extremely important for woman to take the time they need to be with their new babies. it totally breaks my heart when I hear of women going back to work when bub is 6 weeks old. What torture for mum and bub! After a sleepness night, how can you perform at work? That first few months is such a precious time, I think society should recognise it and throw the money behind it.



Should maternity leave be paid for by the taxpayer via govt payments or by employers? Well, personally I think it's a govt responsibility. there are some industries where there are a lot of young women that employers would be slugged by endless maternity leave payments. That doesn't seem fair.



Let's all pay our taxes to support reasonable provisions for new mums. (Oh - I'd make an exception for those on high families incomes - they shouldn't get any help)

[deleted account]

Wow six months off isn't a realistic goal, it took nine months for it to go on it should take at least nine months for it to come, that's the healthy way!

Ana - posted on 07/01/2012

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Oh yeah, my maternity leave was paid and did not effect my vacation leave. My husbands leave was free and did not effect his vacation leave. He got 10 days free to use within the first year of the childs life, but his work sked was so flexible he didn't even use it...such a blessing..but definitely more time was needed for me..

Ana - posted on 07/01/2012

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Wow... thoes countries really do value the first months or year of a childs life. Yeah, I was in the Navy when I had my daughter and the maternity leave was 6 weeks. Having to loose all your baby weight within 6 mths..

I was very stiff from the waist down unitl my daughter was 5mths old, so I didn't meet their weight mark on time..and turns out most women don't..



But I kept my daughter home till she was about 3mths (my mother went to work at this point and could not take care of her).

Leigh - posted on 06/09/2012

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I plan on taking at least 3 months off with this baby because we can afford it, surprisingly. I won't get any pay from work, but I can take my vacation and sick pay that I have remaining at that time to counter-balance not having income. I am from Kansas (USA). As far as whether or not people get 12 weeks here or not I am completely at a loss. When I had my daughter I wasn't working at a specific place to get maturnity leave from because I quit my job.

Brittney - posted on 06/07/2012

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I'm from United States
I took off 5 months after my daughter was born but I took off an additional 3 months before she was born (all unpaid) (doctors gave go ahead to go back to school/work at 6 weeks)
husband got 16 hours paternity leave unpaid (not supposed to get any)

I think the woman needs to be fully healed before returning to work. She will be sleep deprived and there is no way she can be at her best. I think a minimum should be 6-12 months. That way the woman can bond with her baby, recover completely, and if she is breast feeding, maintain her supply.

Erin - posted on 06/06/2012

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Yep good old mom hating America is where I'm from. A measly six weeks, 12 under certain circumstances, no law requiring paid leave, and likley the mom will not have time to get any cash assistance since the process can take longer than the leave. Some insurances offer maternity benefits for lost wages if you pay $300 a month for it. I think moms are meant to stay with their kids until they are adults but bare minimum I think no less than one year is fair for leave. I'm not saying the employers should have to pay for it but then again idk who should if they don't perhaps dads should???? Idk. I stay at home with all my kids.

Krista - posted on 06/05/2012

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No kidding, Becky! Gad, I think back to what I was like a few weeks after having my son. Hormonal as hell, breasts leaking, all stitched up from my episiotomy, hemorrhoids a go-go...yeesh, I would have been a serious liability at work, not an asset!

Becky - posted on 06/05/2012

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I haven't read all the comments, so sorry if I repeat things that have already been said. I love our year maternity leave here. I just can't see any advantage in expecting a woman back to work 3 weeks after she has had a baby. How can her productivity possibly be anywhere near what it should be? She's still recovering - sore, sleep deprived, if breastfeeding, then her supply is probably still adjusting. I would venture a guess that women who return to work that early have much higher rates of PPD than women who have a longer maternity leave, simply because of the fatigue, the guilt and stress over leaving such a young baby, and the added responsibilities when you are still not feeling completely well.

[deleted account]

Wow, this really highlights how lucky we are in the uk, I love that we are entitled to a years maternity leave and feel that it should be a woman's choice over how much maternity leave they take with their newborn, nobody should have to return to work whilst they aren't even fully healed from the birth, surely that is damaging to the woman's body.

This is slightly wrong with our maternity leave pay though, we get 90% of your average weekly gross pay for the first 6 weeks (with no upper limits) then for the next 33 weeks we get either £135 a week or 90% of your average weekly gross pay, whichever is lowest. Then the remaining 13 weeks are unpaid.

Stifler's - posted on 06/04/2012

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That's true I had a vaginal birth first and could barely sit down on my butt for 10 weeks . I found it easier to do things though than when I'd had stitches. I'ts just really hard to recover sleep wise from both kinds too you just need someone around to let you rest.

Janice - posted on 06/04/2012

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My hubby took 1 week off, paid vacation, for each child. I had c-section with my 1st and was on my own and back to school (2x/week) 10 days after it. I didnt find my c-section to be a hard recovery. I was in pain only if I slacked on my meds. My Vbac was just as difficult. I was chasing my toddler and out and about with in days but I was in soooo much pain. After a few hours of activity I would want to pass out my lady parts hurt so bad.

So I think its important for women to have support after both types of birth.

Stifler's - posted on 06/03/2012

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I was alone too my MIL stayed for a week after Renae was born then damo took one week off and went back to work and I hated it everything hurt so much I wish Damo would have been here to give me a break and recover from it all. Mine got infected too but not to the point of hospitalization.

Dove - posted on 06/03/2012

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Help after a c-section? Hm... I was alone during the day by 2 weeks the first time and 3 days the last. ;) Crappy, but doable. Of course, my best friend had a nasty infection after HER c-section and was re-hospitalized at a month. I guess it depends and I was very lucky I had no issues because I had no choice in handling it or not.

[deleted account]

I saved up for my own maternity leave. I took 3 months. Because I was self employed and the gov does not cover any maternity leave in the US, I really didn't have a choice. This was incredibly expensive for me because my company at the time was very small--consisting of only myself, one full time employee, and 3 part time employees. In order to take the needed time off for J's birth, I had to not only save up enough money to cover living expenses for 3 months, but also had to make sure the business could support 2 full time managers (because I could not expect one manager to regularly put in the hours that I did). I also had to train them, which meant 3 months of paying them while I was still working.

Many employers do offer 6 weeks of partially paid time off--usually through short term disability insurance paid for by the employer--but the self employed and those employed in businesses with less than 50 employees fall through those cracks and are left with the full responsibility of funding their maternity leave. It may not seem so daunting for many, but due to recent economic turmoil more than half of Americans are living *just* within their means--meaning they have less than 10% of their income remaining after bills are paid and necessities are purchased. To take 3 months off (the 12 weeks the gov requires their job to be held) a woman would need to save up 270% of her monthly salary. If she only has 10% of her income left for savings each month, it would take her 27 months--just over 2 years--to pay for a 3 month leave. And that is only if no major financial emergencies pop up over that 2 years....and she doesn't do Christmas or vacations....Furthermore, not all pregnancies are planned.

That said, like many of the moms here, I did not enjoy being home with J during his first year--which is why I kept going back to work--but I LOVE being a sahm to him now that he is older. That's just my personality. There should be enough money in the American budget to give some level of support to mothers. I would like to see a system that gives a set amount of money per child that the mother could use at any time, as she saw fit. I can't make many suggestions here because I honestly haven't done any research on this at all. I did not even know that other countries had tax funded benefits for maternity leave until well after J was born! Americans--we live in a bubble sometimes.

Krista - posted on 06/03/2012

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That makes sense, Stifler's Mum. After a c-section, a person really DOES need someone around to help. And a family shouldn't have to worry about the husband getting fired, or about the bills getting paid, in order to help his wife after a c-section.

Stifler's - posted on 06/03/2012

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Some companies here give the men 6 weeks paternity leave paid if their wife had a caesar. It should be like that mandatorily.

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