Paid parental leave

I don’t think I’m the only working mom who would gladly have accepted a one-year delay (or more!) in receiving Social Security retirement benefits in exchange for one year of benefits now so that I could spend more time staying home with my daughter. Social Security isn’t an issue I’ve spent much time on, so I don’t know as much about it as I’d like — would this kind of thing be at all feasible as a way of starting to bring the U.S. up to the level the rest of the developed world re: parental leave?

[edit: for some reason, this particular post has become a spam magnet, so I’m turning off comments. Please leave a comment in the most recent post if you have something to add that’s not, well, an ad.]

5 thoughts on “Paid parental leave

  1. Pingback: sonria.org
  2. Well, it depends on whether you think career advancement for women is a value. Because in the countries where women get extended paid leaves, they have an awful glass ceiling problem. Very few men would take the parental leave option — it would take forcing them, and that would torpedo this idea immediately.

    Anyway, here is a good post on the pros & cons of these things:
    http://crookedtimber.org/2005/03/29/parental-leave-pros-and-cons/

  3. That’s a good post — didn’t Crooked Timber once do a whole series on these issues?

    You make an important point, but I think one can believe that career advancement for women is a value without giving up on parental leave. A few thoughts come to mind:

    * I’d be interested to know whether, if they were surveyed, women in the countries with glass ceiling problems would want to give up extended leave.

    * What’s the goal state? Is it a situation in which neither men nor women feel free to take time off to be with a new baby? Or is it a situation in which both do? We have to work toward the goal state, not away from it.

    * There’s a class component to this issue. Most of the population is not in the kind of job where they risk not being promoted to high-paying, high-powered positions. In the OECD paper linked from that Crooked Timber post, I saw that lower-income women were more likely to use maternity leave/benefits. Feminism has to be concerned with the needs of women of all classes.

  4. Jen,
    Sorry you’re not getting as much time as you’d like with your little one.

    The problem is not paid parental leave, it’s that some folks use it as an excuse for building a glass ceiling.

    It’s amazing how worked up people in the US get when the subject of paid parental leave comes up in public discourse. I was there for the fight to enact the Family and Medical Leave Act, which won the right to unpaid leave and is therefore not useful to most of us. And people even resisted that…

    But in many European countries, and even to a certain degree in Canada, family benefits are considered people’s just entitlements. My European and Canadian friends can’t believe how stingy the US government is with those benefits, especially as it wages a pointless war. It’s an entirely different attitude, and one that we could use a lot more of here…Anybody ever wonder why Americans have a much higher abortion rate? Because kids are considered “your own private problem.”

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