Target: Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! CEO
Goal: Applaud the decision to expand Yahoo’s paid parental leave policy
The U.S. is one of just three countries that does not offer paid maternity leave. Marissa Mayer, new CEO of Yahoo, understands how important it is to spend time home with a newborn, so she increased paid leave for new mothers from 8 to 16 weeks. Fathers of newborns will get 8 weeks of paid leave. In the case of adoption, foster child placement or surrogacy, both parents will also receive 8 weeks.
This is a great change for mothers who want to establish a breastfeeding routine. Research shows that the longer a child is breastfed, the better his health is. That, in turn, brings down healthcare costs. Unfortunately, our country as a whole has not come to agreement on paid family leave. The Family Medical Leave Act passed in 1993 only provides job protection for 12 weeks for both parents, but without pay. This policy is inadequate in that it deprives the family of much-needed funds, because babies are expensive, and also because 12 weeks is not enough time.
Other countries in the world understand this problem. Afghanistan provides 13 weeks of paid leave to women, Saudi Arabia – 10 weeks, North Korea – 11 weeks, Iraq – 9 weeks, Bangladesh – 16 weeks, and Pakistan – 12 weeks. Thirty-one more countries guarantee a year or more in paid maternity leave, typically through government-run insurance programs. According to Dr. Heymann’s research, most of Europe and Central Asia provide 26 weeks or more of paid leave for mothers.
The fact is our government should take notice of Yahoo and its competitors Google and Facebook. Regardless of place of work, parents need time off to spend with their newborn, to bond, and for the mother to establish a breastfeeding routine.
Sign the petition below if you agree with Marissa Mayer’s decision to expand Yahoo’s paid leave policy and if you would like the federal government to follow her lead.
Dear Ms. Mayer,
Your decision to increase paid maternity leave from 8 to 16 weeks deserves praise and acknowledgement. As a new mother, you understand the challenges of balancing work and home life, especially with a newborn. Research shows that paid leave for mothers prolongs breastfeeding and reduces healthcare costs. It is also important for both the mother and father to bond with their child.
As great as your decision is, unfortunately, it is not enough. The U.S. is one of three countries that does not offer mothers paid leave. FMLA was a good start when it was passed 20 years ago, but it is inadequate. Many people cannot afford to take it because costs rise with a new baby, and they go back to work, having to foot expensive childcare, if their workplace does not provide it.
You can influence lawmakers in Washington, D.C. to put in place guaranteed paid maternal leave. It is a smart move in the long run, because it reduces costs and can help to raise happy and healthy children.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jdlasica via Flickr