Essay On Maternity Protection Convention C 183, Adopted By International Labor Organization In 2000, Requires As Minimum Condition, 14 Weeks Of Maternity Leave.

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Workplace, Children, United States, Parents, Employee, Company, Women

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/01/27

Business law

Nowadays, when the model of family life has changed and the norm is two working members, the role of mothers and fathers in maintaining the household and raising the children has also changed. As a result of many studies, the conclusion that both roles are equal is done.
In the beginning of baby’s life fathers play a very important role. Participation of the father in the care of the new born baby gives the mother time to recuperate and allows her to gain strength to meet the challenges ahead. It helps him to feel confident in his parenting abilities. The time spent with the baby and older children forms a precious bond that lasts for ever. Paternity leave is not simply a vacation but it is a memorable time that the family needs to attune to a major change.
As the mother wants to jump back into her routines following birth, not always her body plans that. If she had cesarean birth, complicated birth like episiotomy etc., it may take several more days or weeks to recover completely. In such situations, father’s help may be an unconditional necessity. Even if physically the mother feels great after the birth, very often she needs emotional support in the days and weeks following childbirth.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of paternity leave is that it gives the possibility of the father to bond with his growing family. Programs composed to help families should focus on co-parenting but unfortunately too many parenting programs are focused only on mothers, leaving the fathers on one side or lock them out.
The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) published a study that found that fathers, who spent more time with their children, as much as about two weeks after birth, are more involved in the child’s care in the years to follow. CNN reported that fact “The study noted that fathers’ use of paternity and parental leave was largest when leave was well-paid and designated specifically for fathers.” (Huerta, M. et al. (2013), OECD, “Fathers' Leave, Fathers' Involvement and Child Development: Are They Related?)
Paid leave provides countless advantages to new families. In 2011, a study, carried out by Human Rights Watch, found out that the absence of paid parental leave results in delayed immunizations for children, depressions and various health problems. Even mothers gave up early breast feeding. The parents who preferred the unpaid leave and stay at home, raising their children, went into debt or were compelled to look for public assistance. Encouraging close family bonds, gaining in this way better psychological health and comfort, paid parental leaves help the society in many ways that are toilsome to quantify.
The parental leave is an employee’s privilege, established in almost all countries that ensure the employees with paid time off work for child’s care or other arrangements for the child’s wellbeing. The term parental leave or family leave covers maternity, paternity and adoption leave. Very often, the minimum privilege is guaranteed by law. In definite countries parental leave ensures only unpaid time off work. Paid parental leave is provided in most of the countries and is available as legal right with the exception of the United States of America, Papua New Guinea, Suriname and Liberia.
According to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) , adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1979 and instituted on 3 September 1981, ratified by 188 states, declares ”to introduce maternity leave with pays or with comparable social benefits without loss of former employment, seniority or social allowance.” (CEDAW, Web)

Central European countries have regulations according to which mothers use the longest maternity leave in the world. The mothers in Czech Republic and Slovakia stay at home, as a standard, for three years after a child’s birth. The maternity leave could be extended with additional pregnancy and motherhood. In Europe, as in Bulgaria, it is possible for the fathers to take the leave instead of the mothers after the six months age of the child. In Austria is used a similar model, where the mothers may choose between one and three years. The female employees in the United Kingdom are entitled to fifty two weeks of motherhood leave, and thirty nine of them are paid. The plans are all fifty two weeks leave to be paid.
In the countries of the rest of the world, the maternity leave is about fourteen weeks, paid of different percentage of the salary, but the 100% payment is a rarity.
It is strange that maternity leave in such developed country like the United States of America continues only twelve unpaid weeks off work. This policy differs from the policy of other industrialized countries, because of the absence of benefits. Like the European countries, the number of employed women in the United States increases every year. The relationships in the families nowadays require the participation of both parents in raising the children. Usually both parents are employed.

What is the attitude of the employers about this employee’s privilege?

In order to attract more qualified employees, the companies, along many other benefits, run over to paternity leave but Dads are not so much enthusiastic about that. In April, 2013, Yahoo Inc. announced that the fathers can take eight, full paid weeks off. The Bank of America Corp. announced a suggestion for two weeks off, paid. Ernst & Young increased its leave policy from two weeks to six. Fifteen percent of U.S. companies and firms ensure some paid leave for new fathers. The information comes from a survey, made by the Society of Human Resource Management that was released on the following Father’s Day. In reality men are not ready to take time off for different reasons varying from a fear to lose their status at work to meandering between old stereotypes about father’s position in the family. It sounds like a progress, but still the leave is in norm for women and the men take part only in the discussion for shifting the roles of housewife and breadwinner in the family.
With the situation so unacceptable for American Women, it might be alluring to neglect the needs of the American fathers. New mothers have to realize that the encouragement of paternity leave is in their long-term interest, representing a force for women’s equality. The high developing companies are willing to adopt such attitudes. As it was said, strongly advanced companies like Yahoo, Google and Facebook are now offering paid maternity and paternity leave for both parents. The same do the big consulting companies like Deloitte PwC, McKenzie and KPMG. Intel introduced its paid parental leave of eight, full paid weeks for regular births, adoption or foster care arrangements. For the companies, this is just a good business in the competition to draw in and keep highly skilled workers.
The situation looks much worse and challenging when speaking of low-income workers, who firms and companies prefer to replace. “The new economy complicates this question even more” said Liz Peters, the director of the Center of Labor Human Services at a conference with a subject - the paternity leave. (Jason Hall, Why Men Don’t Take Paternity Leave, Forbes)
Despite these provocations, families with low-income need parental leave much more than that with high-income. The families with low-income do not have the possibility one of the parents to take unpaid leave and stay at home. Now, when it is very well-known that having one parent at home is a very important element in a child’s life and for good results in school, the contradiction between paid leave for families with low- income and that with high-income will only go deeper and increase the existing and growing inequality.
Why are fathers less likely to take all the leave offered to them by their employers after the birth of the baby? The disgrace of being the guy in the office ho uses the whole amount of leave scares the fathers. It is not the apprehension of losing the job, but the unspoken deprecation and the following question about dedication, coming with the complete leave utilization. Joseph, a corporate accountant in Kansas City says “I could have taken the whole week off after my son, Lyle, was born, but they said they really needed me, and they did, because it was the end of the fiscal year. I could tell they were not going to look kindly on my taking the whole week, so I didn’t.” Then he added “But the truth is, they could have hired a temp without taking too much of a loss, and I could have been happy to put in some extra time when I got back.” Instead, feeling guilty, and being afraid that his company would put him “on the top of the list for layoffs”, he took only two days and later being sorry he admits “I should have taken the leave, and if we have another baby, I am not going to pass it up this time. It was foolish.” (Hall, J., Why Men Don’t Take Paternity Leave)
Similar case is described in the article Is it Really Okay to Take Paternity Leave, published in the blog Living Rich Cheaply on April 3, 2014. The baseball player for the Mets Daniel Murphy took three days of paternity leave to fly down to Florida and witness the birth of his first born baby on Monday. This was the amount of days allowed by the collective bargaining agreement between the Major League Baseball and the players’ union. Missing two games, he returned to work on Thursday. Obviously some fans and radio talking heads did not want to accept that.
Countries around the world, like Sweden and Portugal, have ensured leaves for fathers, while the paternity leave in the United States remains very short if taken at all. A 2011 study, carried out by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, who studied the workers at four Fortune 500 companies, showed that approximately 85% of new Dads take some time off after the birth of a child and most of them use a week or two. The study was carried out by the Boston College Center for Work and Family.
“There's still a stigma associated with men who put parenting on an equal footing with their jobs," said Scott Coltrane, a sociologist at the University of Oregon. "Most employers still assume that work comes first for men, while women do all the child care." (Coltrane S., Family man: Fatherhood, Housework and Gender Equity)
Taking an equal share of childcare, let the men bond with their kids, and the utilization of the paternity leave prevents the women to be established as primary caregivers, which fact is hard to reverse later, and it may even provide a boost to economy by keeping more women at work.
Partly due to development of the ideas about the roles of men and women, and partly due to economic conditions, the attitudes about paternal leave are changing significantly. The number of two-income families and households is growing and becomes the norm in the United States.
Since the question about parental leave is not well developed in the United States, there is only one act, serving as a federal law, arranging that matter. It is the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 that requires covered employers to supply the employees with unpaid and job-protected leave for qualified family and medical reasons. The qualified medical and family reasons subsumes family or personal illness, pregnancy, adoption or the foster care settlement, and military leave. The Wage and Hour Division of the United State department of Labor administers the implementation of FMLA.
The bill was a significant part of the agenda of President Bill Clinton during his first term. On February 5, 1993, President Clinton signed the bill into law, and it came in force on August 5, 1993.
The FMLA was adopted “to balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families.” (“Findings and Purposes,” 29 U. S. C. # 2601, Web)
The Act allows the diligent employees to utilize up to 12 work weeks unpaid leave during any twelve months period, for caregiving an impecunious family member: parent, spouse or child, pregnancy or care of a newborn baby, adoption or foster care of a child.
The requirements, the employee has to meet in order to be eligible for FMLA leave are: an employee must have worked in the business at least twelve months, or 1, 250 hours over the past twelve months. The employee has to work on a location where the company employs fifty or more employees within 75 miles.
The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 covers both public- and private-sector employees. Certain categories as elected officials and their personal staff members are excluded. The statistic says that in June, 2007 of the 141.7 million workers in the United States, 94.4 million worked at worksites, covered by FMLA, and 76.1 million were eligible for FMLA leave. The calculations were made by the Department of Labor.
The amendments to the FMLA, made in 2008, extend the FMLA protection for military family members till next of kin and to adult children.
The Department of Labor clarified the definition “son and daughter” on June 22, 2010, under the FMLA "to ensure that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship" and specifying that "an employee who intends to share in the parenting of a child with his or her same sex partner will be able to exercise the right to FMLA leave to bond with that child." (U. S. Department of Labor)
The situation, concerning parental leaves, began to change. States like California, New Jersey, Washington and Rhode Island adopted their state legislation, mandating paid parental leave. It is necessary community programs to be designed, addressed to the new fathers and the whole community for changing their attitude about the paternity leave and the close participation of Dads in the process of childcare.
Policies obviously need to be changed before more low-income families have access to parental leave. The perceptions about fatherhood in American popular culture also need to change. This could be done by lot of work among the young employees, especially among young men, who when becoming a father still feel the stigma connected with the utilization of paternity leave.
Which should come first, it is difficult to say: Policies can settle social norms and certain expectations, but the new policies need the consequent popular support. This is why the founder of the Center for Urban Families, Joe Jones, says that together with the new policies, America needs a new view of masculinity that includes the fatherhood.
“The day when a man holding his baby and ironing is toughness, that is the day things will change.” (Swanson, A., Why Paternity Leave is just for the Rich, Forbes)
The situation looks optimistic as many states consider following California, Washington, New Jersey and Rhode Island and adopt state laws that will mandate paid family and parental leave. For example the paid parental program suggests leave of six week with fifty five percent pay to family with newborn or adopted children intending to increase the amount.
There are companies that have decided to establish a paid parental leave advantage for parents and their number constantly increases. The question, what happens when employers are free from paying money for overtime and abstain from hiring replacements for the time of leave, is very interesting. Many interesting decisions, originating from the employees themselves are reported like the case when four expecting dads, working in the same office, decided to substitute each other. Lots of white-collar employees have no the possibility to go entirely out of their professional duties and they go on working at home while dealing with the baby.
The already mentioned cases come to show that there are many readings of the topic with plenty of decisions. The main problem is the attitude of mind of the society about this problem. When the society is ready to change entirely the old model of thinking about the duties of the family partners, then the family will acquire quite new aspect.


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW, adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly, ratified by 188 states
Coltrane, S., Family man: Fatherhood, Housework and Gender Equity, New York Oxford University Press,
Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, (Pub. L. 103 – 3, 29 U. S. C. sec. 2601, 29 CFL 825)
Hall, J., Why Men Don’t Take Paternity Leave, Forbes, 6/14/2015
Huerta, M. et al. (2013), “Fathers' Leave, Fathers'
Involvement and Child Development: Are They Related?
Evidence from Four OECD Countries”, OECD Social,
Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 140,
OECD Publishing.
Living Rich Cheaply, Is It Really Okay to Take Paternity leave, Web
Maternity Protection Convention C 183, adopted in 2000 by the International Labor Organization
Swanson, A., Why Paternity Leave is Just for the Rich, , Forbes, 1/30/2015, Web

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