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February 25, 2016

Paid Family Leave. How is it possible that we don’t have it?

By | Advocacy, International Nursing | 4 Comments

Most first-world countries have some sort of paid maternity/parental leave.  For that matter, check this out:

  • Haiti has 6 weeks of paid maternity leave.
  • Cuba has 18 weeks of paid leave.
  • SIERRA LEONE has 12 weeks of paid leave. All of these countries pay 100% of wages for this length of time.

And the US has notably ZERO weeks of paid maternity leave.

Multiple studies done all over the world point to increased difficulty with breastfeeding if the mother returns to work too quickly after a birth.  Breastfeeding is shown to reduce infant 1_maternity-leavemortality in dozens of studies.  Google one.  And the US has one of the highest first-world infant mortality rates on the planet.  Coincidence? You know better.

So, the cost of a reasonable amount of maternity leave is more important to your government and your employer than whether or not your baby survives.

If possible it gets even worse than that.

No, it really does.  Stay with me.

One of the members of Show Me Your Stethoscope donated a kidney recently.  Here is a quote:

I just donated a kidney and was forced to exhaust PTO. Even though I didn’t want to use it. My coworkers offered to donate PTO and they were told no. It’s sad. I had to sign papers agreeing that if I had any complications and my leave had to be extended that my position could not be held. 

So a nurse who saved another’s life by being a living donor was treated this way in the United States of America. In 2016. Her coworkers couldn’t donate PTO, and if her selfless act caused health complications, her job could not be held.  It would have cost that hospital exactly nothing to allow coworkers to donate leave.  Zero.  Not even a penny.Medical-Symbol

A HOSPITAL refused to allow this.  For organ donation.  To save a life.

So, the next time you think it isn’t “Right” to unite and work with your fellow nurses for safe staffing, to prevent workplace violence, and even (god forbid) decent salaries, please recall that your employer would rather that your baby died than let you have paid maternity leave.  They would rather a living organ donor choose to not donate a kidney than allowing their coworkers to donate leave. Because if her coworkers max out their leave, they lose it. And the hospital gets to steal it back.

It is about power.

It is about control.

It is about keeping you in your place.

Don’t allow it.





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