Maternity Leave Bill

Having a baby is a fairly stressful event, at least it was for me. Besides the trauma you go through physically you have to figure out this new totally helpless person at the same time. Since I work for myself I don’t get maternity leave, which meant taking 2 weeks off after Anders was born. It just wasn’t enough time.

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill for paid family leave. Senators Jim Webb and John Warner of Virginia are co-sponsoring a similar bill in the senate (S. 3140).

Even though this only covers Federal workers and is a measly 4 weeks (you get 18 months maternity leave in Sweden, plus 4 weeks paternity leave) it is a start. We have the worst maternity laws of all developed countries and the least support for new moms and families. Australia is the second worst, but they are working on changing that.


The bill, HR 5781, would offer four weeks of paid leave to qualifying federal employees for the birth or adoption of a new child. It would also enable federal workers to use up to eight weeks of paid sick time immediately following the first four weeks of parental leave.

The federal government—the largest employer in the nation with a workforce of more than 1.8 million civilian employees—will soon be paving the way for the rest of the nation’s employers to follow. But we’re not there yet! Already, the Bush Administration has threatened to veto the bill. And, we need to turn our attention to the Senate. Earlier this week, Senators Jim Webb and John Warner of Virginia sponsored a similar, bipartisan bill, which needs our support. Please tell your Senators to support working women and their families by cosponsoring S. 3140.

Consider a quick email to your Senator in support of this bill.

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