The USA rags behind in enacting a law that motivates parental leave. Countries on the American continents have embraced the paid parental leave apart from United State of America. A number of countries in Europe, Asia and some in Africa have also made the paid parental leave a law that is observed by relevant employers. In the USA, the Family Medical Leave Act does enacted in 1993 does not mandate the employer to give salary to the employees who go on a maternity or paternity leave. These are only two states in America, California and New Jersey that offer a partially paid parental leave (Finnigan, 2011). Lack of paid parental leave inhibits parenting abilities as evidence by cases of parenting opting for baby care so that they can go back to work. Consequently, the child experienced reduced immunity due to inadequate breast feeding. Moreover, the kid have poor bonding with the parent right from their early age.
The government should ratify a policy that will boost a paid parental leave. The poor attitude experienced among men seeking paternity leave should be addressed by promoting the level of those seeking paternity leave. Evidence has supported that paternal leave is crucial at the initial stage of the child development and it is important not only to the child but to the whole family (Schulde, 2008). Therefore, efforts should be made to uplift the spirit of Paternal Paid Leave in America
Paid Parental Leave under (New) Labour in US
Parenting is a crucial factor in the development of a child. The imperativeness of parentage start right from the time the child is born (Smith, 2001). This is the duration when the child needs to bond with the parent. The parent also takes this initial time to understand the kid, their psychological need, health wise and physical fitness. It is during these first weeks of birth that the parent may recognize the child’s developmental defects if they were unnoticed in the hospital, immunization, and mothers will take this time to breastfeed their kids. As demonstrated by research, adequate breastfeeding is vital in the development of the child’s immune system. Failure to breastfeed the child for at least six months will deteriorate the child’s immunity. This contributes to infection and increased rate of hospitalization. The care needed by the little child demand total attention of the parent; hence, availability of a parent is imperative.
The issue and nature of maternity and paternity leave varies from nation to nation. The European nations are leading in the provision of benefits coverage for parents who go on parental leave. In most of the European countries, the parents enjoy full payment for the time that they are on the leave. The constitution offers a cover and mandates the employer to offer the specific parental leave duration with full coverage with their normal salary. The paid leave motivates parents to take one; thus, promoting the healthcare of the child (Smith, 2001).
America rags behind approving the parenting leave. Generally, there is a not paid parenting leave in America. This creates a dilemma among the parents in consideration of the benefit of staying at home with their kids and losing the salary, or remaining at the work with the aim of maintaining the pay slip while giving the baby minimum care and attention. In most cases, the parents will opt for taking the minimum time possible of the unpaid leave. Needless to say, this option is detrimental to a child’s life (Schulde, 2008).
Parenting leave in America is provided by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which was enforcedd in 1993 (Ray, 2008, p. 31). The Act postulates that parents should be offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave depending on their preference. The parent has the right to choose when to start the leave which should be continuous once started. During this time, the employee is also entitled for health insurance if the terms of contract extend insurance to private cover. The terms that must be observed for one to qualify for the leave include the following: one has to work for the company for at least one year; the employee must be working for more than 24 hours per week; the company must be having more than fifty employees and the wages should not top 10 percent of the company’s salaries. These conditions further cage the extensibility of the parenting leave; thus, reducing the effectiveness of parenting. In cases in which the two parents, mother and father, work in the same company, the durations are supposed to be split between the two parents in their own agreed ratio (Ray, 2008).
In different states in America, the longevity of the unpaid leave varies. Women also benefit from the Temporary Disability Insurance benefits during their pregnancy period. Out of the fifty two states in America, only two states offer a parenting leave that is partly paid. These states are California and New Jersey. In California, the parents who are expecting a child can take a maximum of six weeks off earning 55% of their salaries. In New Jersey, the parents take a maximum of six weeks parenting leave with a maximum of $559 per week. These two states offer a platform and a starting point that should be followed by other state in America in a step toward the improvement of parentage benefits. States such as Washington, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon have initiated paid parental leave but it is yet to be implemented (Finnigan, 2011).
Unpaid leave affects the paternal care in a diverse way. In most cases, when a woman is pregnant, husband or father of the baby will also reduce the duration at work to assist the woman at home. After birth, the father’s assistance at home increases since the woman may not achieve a lot without assistance. Since the two will not be earning anything during the leave (other than those from California and New Jersey), life may be exceedingly difficult. This will lead to either to hiring a baby sitter or being at home in turns. This will reduce the bonding capability of the child with the two parents. Moreover, the shifting of the parentage from mother, father, baby sitter and the likes bring confusion to the growing kid affecting their “learning” capability.
Paternity leave is beneficial in helping the father adapt and reorganize their schedules to accommodate the new responsibilities in life. It is at this time that the father establishes a strong bond with a kid; thus, establishing an attachment to the family. Having father around during this time, offers the mother a fabulous time to concentrate on the care of the baby, since they can help each other. The man will also ease case of stress built up in the woman due to the increased number of duties.
In addition to these benefits, the child will learn a lot. At this time of development, the child learns things through seeing them being done. Having the two parents together will expose the kid to a wide range of activities; thus, triggering the baby’s curiosity. The paternal leave will also offer an adequate time for the establishment of a healthy family plans such as housing and economic plans (Finnigan, 2011). Moreover, both the parents will be in a better position to start their work after the leave. There will be no necessity to take loans to cater for the unpaid leave. This has a positive impact on the nation’s economy since the country will cut down the rate of fraudulent debtors.
Embracing paid paternity leave will help in boosting the poor attitude in the society about men taking up the household chores (Schulde, 2008). This will act as a motivator among men and in the meantime help make the family relationships stronger. It has been evident that men feel resented in the working places whenever they wish to take paternity leave.
In conclusion, policies should be improved to ensure that there is a paid parental leave in the USA. On top of this, men should be encouraged to take paternal leave. Paternal leave will help the baby bond with the father, increase productivity of the women, reduce stress in the family, help the father determine their parenting abilities and areas of improvement, and offer considerable time for the family to reschedule their plans. Therefore, the USA should borrow the examples from the Canada and European Countries to enact a law embracing the paid paternity leave.