Buried deep in Donald Trump’s speech to Congress is a proposal to provide paid family leave.
Commentators are saying it is significant he called it family leave, rather than maternity leave.
“It’s critical that it’s shifting to paid family leave and away from maternity leave,” says Victoria Budson, executive director of Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program.”
Budson points to a lot of research showing that dads need time to bond with babies as well, and that America’s ageing Baby Boomers are likely to put strain on their younger relatives who have to care for them.
Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, Ireland, Switzerland and New Zealand – all available paid leave is related to the birth or care of a child.
In 2016 New Zealand introduced changes that allow people other than the biological mother to be the nominated care-giver.
In terms of the length of family leave, New Zealand ranks 40 out of the 41 countries according to data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Trump’s proposal of six weeks off would still leave the United States at to bottom of the list after New Zealand, which has 18 weeks of paid leave for both new mothers and fathers.
Most generous is Estonia, which allows for two years.
The global average is 20 weeks, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Recently, at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015, Pope Francis said:
“[W]e cannot call any society healthy when it does not leave real room for family life. We cannot think that a society has a future when it fails to pass laws capable of protecting families and ensuring their basic needs, especially those of families just starting out.”
News category: New Zealand.