In U.S., less relief for mother's load

Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts March 2000 Current Issue
March 2000
Short Cuts:In U.S., less relief for mother's load

America: land of the free and home of the baby-sitter. Although the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 gives working moms the right to 12 weeks off, only some states (including New York, Rhode Island and California) have applied short-term disability benefits to maternity leave. The most recent stats from the Geneva-based International Labor Organization give top ranking to Russia, where moms enjoy 28 weeks off with full pay. Among other generous nations are Hungary and Bulgaria (24 weeks), Austria and Costa Rica (16 weeks), Germany and Panama (14 weeks), and Mexico and India (12 weeks). Benefits are paid by the employer, social security or a combination thereof. "Nations should look at the elements of a maternity package," says Ann Herbert, an ILO official. These should include "the right to take maternity leave, the right to be paid during that leave, employment security, and a safe, healthy working environment that will not threaten the pregnancy."


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