America’s Failing Maternity Leave Policies Force New Moms to Turn to Crowdfunding
America prides itself on being one of the most advanced developed nations on the globe, and yet in some respects, we fall behind in offering our citizens services that are considered basic necessities elsewhere around the world. One such benefit is guaranteed paid maternity leave for new mothers. Although some advancements in the Family and Medical Leave Act have been made in recent decades, having only 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave commonly puts new parents, mothers especially, in extremely tight spots.
Most European countries require all employers to offer as many as six weeks or more of paid time off to new parents, fathers included, so that they can spend time with their newborns. That time also allows new mothers to properly heal before going back to work. The United States does not offer new parents this benefit.
Unfortunately, the miracle of birth, which is supposed to be one of the happiest moments in any parent’s life, is often marred with intense fear for new American parents. This is because for people who live paycheck to paycheck, unpaid parental leave can be terrifying. Without paid leave or alternate income, fathers typically take less than a week off, if they take any time off at all. Mothers are forced to return to work soon after having a child in many cases, and rarely have time to completely heal.
New Solution to Maternity Leave ProblemNow, crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, YouCaring and GiveForward allow new mothers to ask for help. Crowdfunding has been used in the past to help people pay rent and bills in the event that they become disabled or unemployed, and now for mothers who are not granted adequate parental leave.
On crowdfunding sites, new mothers often ask for just enough to pay for a few weeks of rent and expenses so that they have time to heal before going back to work. According to The Today Show, there are about 6,000 campaigns on GoFundMe alone that mention the phrases “maternity leave” or “childcare.” Those campaigns have raised almost $9 million.
Our Dallas employment attorney has worked for over 30 years representing clients who face discrimination due to pregnancy.