Post # 32
@prettylizy: Totally agree. It’s absolutely expected that you can leave for a year and come back. I don’t know anyone who went back and didn’t get their old job again.
I’m good with paying what some of you think is high taxes and lower pay. I don’t even notice it. Fiance and I live a comfortable life, we own our own place, drive 2 cars, go on vacation every year and yet we live on one income right now.
I would rather pay those high taxes and have everyone else enjoy the same freedoms than keep the money to myself and watch others struggle in life.
Post # 33
@moderndaisy: That’s exactly my thought! Agree with everything you said.
I think it’s about more than money and personal responsibility. I think that countries offering paid leave with job security are placing more emphasis on the family and offering parents time to bond with the baby and adjust to their roles.
As for the career side of things I imagine that when it’s the cultural norm to take that much time off it isn’t as hard to go back to work. Just like @prettylizy: said.
Post # 34
@troubled: That’s absolutely true. My one cousin in Europe who didn’t want to take her full 12 months got a lot of comments about it. Everyone expected her to want to spend that time with her baby!
Post # 35
Also (and I don’t know how it is in other countries, but here…) fathers are very encouraged to take leave, too. Of the total number of days, each parent is alloted 60 that they can’t give to the other parent. I think that hugely changes the workplace dynamic. It’s parental leave. Not maternity leave.
Post # 36
@troubled: No I totally agree with you. I definitely think Americans are workaholics and at a lot of the places I’ve worked, there is this implication that you are lazy or unmotivated if you choose your family over your job. People are told at my company that when you are on vacation you need to have your Blackberry on and be accessable 24/7- which I think is absoultely absurd. We’re talking media sales here too- nothing that is life or death. I have seen several women who had kids feel pressure to come back as quickly as possible from maternity leave because they were getting guilt trips put on them by bosses or getting screwed out of money (commission). I just can’t imagine a scenerio where my boss or any of the ones I’ve had in the past would be encouraging me to take as much time as possible to spend with my baby. It’s terrible- hopefully it’s just the industry I’m in and other people in the US don’t feel that way.
Post # 37
My Fiance and I are both self-employed. There would be no business to come back to if we just decided to take off for an entire year! (Or even 3 months.)
We’ll just do what @pinkshoes suggested and plan ahead so that we have a plan and are financially ready when we have a child.
Post # 38
I get 6 weeks paid, can apply for short term disability for up to 3 months, and can use whatever vacation I have saved up. Pretty sad that most people consider that great when other countries have it better.
Post # 39
You know, this entire conversation has been dominated by money and saving up vs. taking off longer with higher taxes, etc.
When I have kids, I personally would love a year off because I don’t want to miss spending time with my child! I wouldn’t want to miss all the first time stuff, like walking and talking and rolling over and whatnot. If it’s going to break even money-wise, I’d rather spend time with my child.
ETA: So in other words, I need to move to Canada or Europe, lol.
Post # 40
The US has crap for maternity policies because Americans don’t vote for people who will support such policies. People here tend to vote for the interests of the super-rich, perhaps because we all think we’ll be there one day.
Post # 41
@galloway111: Well, no, you wouldn’t have to move to Canada or Europe. That is the point of the “money and saving up vs. taking off longer with higher taxes, etc.” talk. That if you saved up that extra you would pay in taxes and set it aside for maternity leave – it would come out to the same amount of money in your pocket as paying the higher taxes and getting “paid maternity leave”. Save the otherwise higher taxes you would be paying, and then ‘pay yourself’ with it when you are on our “unpaid leave’. The biggest problem I see is how Americans view time off VS other countries.
Post # 42
We technically can take up to 6-8 weeks for maternity leave however with FMLA can take up to 12 weeks. I plan on using 8 to 10 weeks with FMLA and Short term disability.
Post # 43
Well, no, you wouldn’t have to move to Canada or Europe. That is the point of the “money and saving up vs. taking off longer with higher taxes, etc.” talk. That if you saved up that extra you would pay in taxes and set it aside for maternity leave – it would come out to the same amount of money in your pocket as paying the higher taxes and getting “paid maternity leave”.
The problem with that is it’s not just the money. I could maybe save up enough money to live a year with no income, but my company is not required to hold that job for me for a year. I would have to quit, and take my chances that a year later I could either get that job back, or a comparable one. In this economy, I would never take that chance.
Post # 44
The United States doesn’t seem to put very much importance on family values. I think it is very disapointing that the US does not have paid maternity leave, or even unpaid maternity leave for any longer than 6 weeks.
Here in Canada, I got paid maternity leave ( mind you it was only a portion, but still an extra 1000 bucks a month), and I was able to be off for 12 months. It was great, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My job was still there for me, when I wanted it, and I got to spend quality time with my son, important time, without having to stress about money situations.
As a country as developed as the United States you would think they would have come as far as other industrialized nations in terms of family care. Don’t even get me started on the health care system.
Post # 45
@Tatum: haha, yes..That is exactly the problem I stated in my last line: how we view the time off. If companies even offered one year unpaid leave and a guarenteed position when you returned, I’d be all for it.
Post # 46
Actually, when you add in state taxes, Americans pay more on average than most of the countries listed here (Canada, Sweden, Germany, and the UK, for example). Plus, we have higher poverty rates than most of those countries (except the UK). So, higher taxes and more more poeple under the poverty line means there really aren’t opportunities to save money for a comparable maternity leave. Excluding the fact that there isn’t the job protection here that other countries enjoy, it just isn’t fiscally possible for many Americans to save up the amount of money needed for a full year’s maternity leave.