Binjal Shah Reports


On the show “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver,  the British entertainer pointed out – “In America, there is nothing we wouldn’t do for moms—apart from one major thing.” Describing that Mother’s Day PDA overload as “Hypocrisy”, he criticized America for denying moms the one thing that counts- Paid leave for new mothers. 


His act for the show was a satire on the striking Paradox – the ‘world’s greatest economy’ being amongst the only two countries in the world that fail to secure women when they enter into this crucial and delicate phase in their lives. According to a UN Report, USA and Papa Guinea are the last remaining countries yet to pass this law.


“Here in the U.S., federal law grants workers just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and there are some stark limits on that.” But this “offer” is only available to women who are full-timers at an organization with 50 or more employees, and have been with them for at least a year.


“What that means is that 40 percent of workers are not covered under the federal law,” Oliver joked. “So if a worker with no paid leave goes into labor at work, she better hope it’s on her lunch hour and that her co-workers don’t mind if the break room gets a bit messy.”


His act also described “creative” ways for mothers to work their way around it. Using their sick leaves and vacation leaves all at once, planning their labor around long weekends, or doing it the infamous “buy now pay later” American way – putting it on their credit cards!


“This is not how it’s supposed to work,” said Oliver. “Mothers shouldn’t have to stitch together time to recover from childbirth the same way that we plan four-day weekends in Atlantic City.”


“Why do we have this system in the United States?” he continued. “Well, for a start, employers seem to fear any sort of mandate. But when it comes to family leave, any fears do tend to be overblown.”



California is an exception to this general evasion. Well, partly at least. Back in 2002,  they formulated a policy that called for six weeks of partially paid maternity leave funded through a tiny payroll tax.


“In California, it worked! And yet, only two other states have followed their lead,” Oliver said. “And that may be because any legislation that specifically seeks to support women often faces vocal opposition.”


The show cut to a video of a group of Minnesota politicians and their beloved mothers acting for a Mother’s Day video. The video was the epitome of the hypocrisy he was referring to- All of these politicians opposed a recent bill that would have expanded maternity leave and provided various other workplace protections for women.

Oliver’s conclusion: “You can’t go on and on about how much you support mothers and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them.”


Source: The Daily Beast

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