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Paid playtime? Yes, please!! We need paid maternity and paternity leave ASAP!!!

     There is a miracle that comes with having a child, and the miracle shouldn’t be finding inventive ways to make a lack of money work.

     Women have the divine privilege of holding a child or more inside of them, and literally feel them grow. Now if people thought that labor was a nightmare, imagine being off from work for maternity leave without pay.

     Companies with 50 or more employees can’t fire someone for taking up to 12 weeks off to be with their newborn—whether it’s a man or a woman—thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

    It is a great thing that under the US labor law women are mandated to have time off, but how does it help if it is unpaid? The time off is necessary to recover from, you know, pushing a bowling ball out of your vagina—there is no argument there.
As great as the time off is, these companies don’t have to pay parents for lost time. Last year, only 13 percent of workers received part of their paycheck in a period following a childbirth; that number dropped to 7 percent in fields like the service industry or retail, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
It is insane to think that mothers are thrown into maternity leave with no pay. Of course there are some types of government aid out there like WIC, but that isn’t available for everyone, let alone not a solution to the problem. Why are women and children being thrown to the wolves with no fiscal help?

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    As college students, it is an understatement to say that we are, in the great words of Khalid, “young, dumb, and broke”. We have mastered making those final dollars count until the end of the second week for payday.

     Imagine being without that paycheck coming in, though. On top of that, imagine someone dropping a newborn right outside of your residence hall door. Break a leg.

    Women shouldn’t be punished for continuing the human race by their employers. Women should be able to enjoy their moments of pregnancy, not worry about what is going to financially happen when the baby comes.

    We hold European countries to such a high standard in elegance, class, and prestige. In almost all of Europe, countries have PAID maternal leave starting at 12 weeks. In the UK, paid maternity leave lasts 40 weeks.

     There are some ways to work around this, which requires strategic planning. For example, my sister had a baby last month and she had to plan out her paid vacation time to keep a paycheck coming as she cared for her daughter.

    Another great thing is that at the company she works for, coworkers are able to donate their vacation time to others, so in the end my sister has about 12 weeks paid vacation, and a couple weeks unpaid.

    As great as that is, there is no reason people should work for their vacation time to donate it to others to make up for our government’s poor excuse for leave. Above that, having a baby is not a vacation, so that time shouldn’t count for it.
While the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is for both parents, it is less heard of to have paid paternal leave as compared to maternal leave.

    Now if, for some amazing reason laws get changed for women to have paid leave, there still bears the question of where paternal leave falls into place. Yes, mom has her bowling ball child and her healing body, but there is no reason why she should be alone to care for the child. It took two to tango in the first place, why does that stop when it comes post birth?
California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and Rhode Island are ahead of the game and have laws in place for paid maternity and paternity leave. Pennsylvania is once again in the dust.

    Fathers are an important part of the early development in children just as much as mothers are, and our country is thus inhibiting on the development of its future generations by not having any paid leave.

    I pray for a future where my significant other and I have children that her and I can comfortably be at home with our newborn child and not worry if there will be enough money to keep the electricity on for us all.

Cody is a Features editor. He is a senior English Lit. major with minors in Psychology and Comm. Studies.

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