Government of Baltimore County, Maryland Paid Maternity Leave
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"Becoming a new parent is a huge undertaking, and for parents who are forced to take unpaid family leave, the situation becomes infinitely more challenging. What's perhaps most frustrating is the abundance of research that often goes ignored, which illustrates how beneficial paid parental leave can be for not just parents, but also for children, society, and companies, too." - Business Insider
It is important to remember that pregnancy is not something that happens to everyone all at once. Most people who do get pregnant would like to return to work healthy and financially stable. When paid leave is not available for a full time employee, then the employee is forced to return to work without taking the necessary time to heal, bond, and take care of her infant during the initial first weeks of the baby's life.
In addition, families struggle to make ends meet without pay after such a dramatic change in their lives. There are new bills to pay from the surgery or medical care, diapers, formula, clothing, and the every day bills and budget for running the household. It could take time to recover from such a financial loss. Some families need to get assistance in order not to fall even more behind.
For instance, "according to a 2012 report from the US Department of Labor on family and medical leave, about 15% of people who were not paid or who received partial pay while on leave turned to public assistance for help. About 60% of workers who took this leave reported it was difficult making ends meet, and almost half reported they would have taken longer leave if more pay had been available." Business Insider
There are so many reasons why it is important to have paid maternity leave that over come that of not having paid maternity leave.The following are studies that have found positive trends in paid maternity leave:
"According to a report last year from the President's Council of Economic Advisers, more than 90% of employers affected by California's paid family-leave initiative reported either positive or no noticeable effect on profitability, turnover, and morale."
"Another study, from the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, found that women who had taken advantage of New Jersey's paid-family-leave policy were far more likely than mothers who hadn't to be working nine to 12 months after the birth of their child."
"The study also found these women to be 39% less likely to receive public assistance and 40% less likely to receive food stamps in the year following a child's birth compared to those who didn't take any leave."
"A study of European leave policies by the University of North Carolina found that paid-leave programs can substantially reduce infant mortality rates and better a child's overall health."
"And research out of The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn indicates higher education, IQ, and income levels in adulthood for children of mothers who used maternity leave — the biggest effect comes for children from lower-educated households. The researchers cited this as a significant discussion for policymakers to have, as it could reduce the existing gap in education and income in the US." - Business Insider
Please, all I ask is that our County gives us the ability to have at least six (6) weeks maternity paid leave to be able to sustain a healthy family. In special circumstances due to infant or mother high risk surgeries, eight (8) weeks maternity paid maternity leave.
Baltimore County government employees must take all their sick, personal, and vacation leave in order to get paid in conjunction with unpaid FMLA. Once the paid leave time is all used up, the time off covered through FMLA is still covered for a total of twelve (12) weeks and it is unpaid. In addition, there are many private and public employers offering paid maternity and paternity leave. Currently, there are Departments in the State of Maryland that get both paternity and maternity paid leave and it is a benefit that is crucial to both the employee and the employer.
As part of the Baltimore County government, I am glad to say that our County listens to its employees and values their opinion. I know that with a united voice we could try to get this passed.
In my personal experience, I have saved up all of my sick, personal, and vacation leave in order to be able to take maternity leave, unfortunately that does not cover enough time for my baby and I to heal, bond, and pay all the necessary household bills. I will not be able to take off any sick time for follow up appointments or have any paid sick time left until I earn it again. It is disheartening that women today have to sacrifice their jobs and careers in order to have at least one (1) baby.
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