When paid parental leave comes to the thoughts of Americans, they would say it is used as a paid vacation from work. It is the opposite; parents must give all their attention to a small baby who weighs less than ten pounds, who cannot use their muscle fully and who’s eyes can barely see despite have good hearing. Making sure the baby is fed multiply times in a day, weekly doctor check-ups to insure growth is stable, and most importantly having bonding moments with both caregivers. Not only does the child need to be looked after at every moment but the mother will need time to rest after giving birth and being in labor can be well over be 18 hours. It will also encourage the father, who typically does not take parental leave, to take time off of work for the bonding experience with their child and also with their wife. Unfortunately some workplaces do not have paid parent leave as is it not seen beneficially for business, they see them as along the same lines as to a waste of money and employee.
For a newborn baby to be welcome to a new environment can be stressful to adjust. It is important to have the mother and/or the father with the child to care for and comfort it for the first six to twelve months of its life outside the womb. With parents having paid leave from work it is one less stress not to worry about. Parents will have all their focus and care on the infant, ensuring the health of the child is being provided for. For example new born babies having a parent with paid leave will attend to doctor’s appointments without rescheduling and have all vaccination needed whereas mothers who are working might not have the time to due to work. Vaccinations and regular doctor appointments has proven to reduce infant mortality by ten percent (Wallace and Christensen 2015). In addition mothers who stayed home from work were seen to breast feed longer than mothers who did not. This helps both child and mothers, as Wallace and Christensen states in their article, “babies who are breast-fed are less likely to get a variety of infections and are also at lower risk for asthma, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome” and “as women who breast-feed are less likely to get breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the CDC.” These are very serious diseases that can affect women and a small child anywhere at any time but it can be easily be reduce if a mother can stay with her child to breast feed. These are the benefits the workplaces need to consider.
The United States is one of very few industrialized country in the world not to guarantee paid parental leave. Many European countries will give up to a year for parents to stay to look after their child. Sweden, being a country to give paid leave, has taken a step further and encourages fathers as a way to demonstrate gender equality (Kulick 2015). With the leave from work studies have seen a stronger bond between husband and wife. Mothers, giving birth or having a C-section, need time to rest their physical state but also their mental health. Mothers, with the help at home from their partner with their child, see a decrease in depression now and later in life. 18 percent of women who returned to work after having a baby were linked to having depression in their 40s-50s. Stress level can be seen to decrease when mothers did not have to worry about money when not able to work and were provided with paid parental leave. Not only is the mother worry about being financially stable moreover does she have a job to return to. Mothers, who had return work, after their paid paternal leave, were seen to performer higher than before and worked longer shifts in addiction raises were given to them. Obama was quoted, “paid leave could help increase the percentage of women in the work force and help middle-class families earn stable income.” It is important for mothers to know they are welcome back to work, for it has been shown mothers have a higher chance of having a second child if they had no work to return to. The University of Zurich did a study of duration of paid, job-protected parental leave on mothers’ higher-order fertility and post-labor market career. The research states, “Mothers who gave birth to their ﬁrst child immediately after the reform had more second children than pre-reform mothers, and that extended parental leave signiﬁcantly reduced return-to-work (Lalive and Zweiemuller).”
Not only does the father have a stronger connection with their families but the workplaces look at fathers as great workers. Women are told to pick a career or a family on the other hand men are pushed to have both. Fathers are desirable when companies are looking for new employees next would be childless women then childless men and lastly are mothers to be hired. Whereas mothers are discouraged to speak of their family at a meeting or in the office, men are told to have baby pictures on their desk and include PTA membership in their resumes (Miller). Furthermore some father were given extra benefits to be encouraged to take a paid leave, in the conclusion to a studied it is stated, “To encourage fathers’ participation in paid parental leave, some countries have made program rules more flexible, offered bonus weeks as incentive for fathers, or created non-transferable paternal leave periods (Marshall 12).”
There are many benefits for paid leave that affects not only the family but companies as well. Studies have shown that both mothers and/or fathers receive an increase of pay at work and/or more work opportunities for later careers. It is vital to encourage workplace to have a paid parental leave for all employees, not just heterosexual couples but as same-sex couples. Keep in mind of the child not only the parents and companies, the children are the beneficial reason for the discussion of prenatal leave to be taken into consideration. Brain development is at its highest growth rate for infants at birth and it will need attention from caregivers to help the child grow. After all the children are the nation’s future and we all can lend a helping hand.
Anita Kulick. “Paid parental leave: what’s the debate?” The Inquirer Daily News. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/healthy_kids/Paid-parental-leave-Whats-the-debate.html. December 3, 2015.
Claire Cain Miller. “The Economic Benefits of Paid Parental Leave.” The New York Times. http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/29/health/paid-leave-benefits-to-children-research/. January 30, 2015. “The Motherhood Penalty vs. the Fatherhood Bonus; A Child Helps Your Career, if You’re a Man.” The Upshot. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/upshot/a-child-helps-your-career-if-youre-a-man.html?action=click&contentCollection=The%20Upshot&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=EndOfArticle&pgtype=article. September 6, 2014.
Lalive, R. and Zweiemuller, J. “How does parental leave affect fertility and return to work? Evidence from two natural expertments.” University of Zurich. 2009. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Josef_Zweimueller/publication/226647276_How_Does_Parental_Leave_Affect_Fertility_and_Return_to_Work_Evidence_from_Two_Natural_Experiments/links/568c030508ae71d5cd04a70c.pdf.
Katherine Marshall. “Fathers’ use of paid parental leave.” Statistics Canada. June 2008. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-001-x/2008106/pdf/10639-eng.pdf.
Kelly Wallace and Jen Christensen. “The benefits of paid leave for children are real, majority of research says.” CNN, http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/29/health/paid-leave-benefits-to-children-research/. Updated October 29, 2015.