September 16, 2016

The problem/nonproblem of maternity leave without paternity leave.

Here's Prachi Gupta in Cosmopolitan, interviewing Ivanka Trump about her father's proposal to guarantee 6 weeks of paid leave to women who have given birth. The leave, as Ivanka clearly explains, is premised on the physical needs of the female body, recovering from childbirth and establishing breastfeeding. (Ivanka doesn't mention that not all mothers choose to breastfeed.)

Because women give birth (and breastfeed), there's a natural difference between men and women, and if you are interested in women's equality, you might want to provide a benefit that covers that difference. But many people worry that giving benefits only to mothers would exacerbate inequality over the long term, because it would reinforce the culture of presuming that childcare is mainly the mother's responsibility.

Gupta attempts to raise this concern:
[P]aternity leave is said to be a great factor in creating gender equality.
She doesn't explain this premise, but I can tell you that it is based on the debate about the old Family and Medical Leave Act, which the Supreme Court held to be premised on enforcing equality. (I wrote a law review article on the subject.) Requiring employers to give 12 weeks of leave to parents of both sexes — unpaid leave — was supposed to erode the stereotype that mothers are the primary caregivers. There was always a problem with that prediction: No one was forced to take the leave, and if new mothers took all that leave and new fathers did not, it would reinforce the stereotype and worsen the perception that female employees take too much time off. The employer has to cover for them during the guaranteed leave and accept them back at work even after 12 weeks of absence, year after year. But the idea was that fathers would take the leave too, and that would tend, over time, to balance childcare responsibilities, which would improve the image of women in the workplace.

I assume Gupta is familiar with this old debate, though she doesn't lay it out for Cosmo readers (or for Ivanka). She just says:
So I’m wondering, why does this policy not include any paternity leave?
Ivanka avoids the equality question and says maternity leave is better than nothing. Those who push the equality theory might say that it's worse than nothing, because it encourages the parent who gave birth to the child to become its primary caregiver. As the woman's body is recovering from the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth, she's bonding with the baby and learning how to take care of it, and she may be establishing the ongoing physical process of breastfeeding. Meanwhile, the father is encouraged to keep working. The traditional division of labor is supported by the government.


Ivanka — in what looks like a bid to win over Democrats — brings up gay people:
Both sides of the aisle have been unable to agree on this issue, so I think this takes huge advancement and obviously, for same-sex couples as well, there's tremendous benefit here to enabling the mother to recover after childbirth. It's critical for the health of the mother. It's critical for bonding with the child, and that was a top focus of this plan.
Gupta tries to break in:
OK, so when it comes to same-sex—
But Ivanka continues:
So it's meant to benefit, whether it's in same-sex marriages as well, to benefit the mother who has given birth to the child if they have legal married status under the tax code.
You can see that she's only talking about recovery from childbirth. (And, indeed, it would probably violate the Equal Protection Clause for the government to give this benefit to women and not men if it is not tied to the physical differences between men and women.) The only gay person who gets this proposed benefit is the woman who gives birth.

Gupta either doesn't see this point or wants to talk about a much more expensive government benefit — paid leave for all new parents. She asks:
Well, what about gay couples, where both partners are men?
Ivanka repeats that the policy relates only to the physical recovery from childbirth. Gupta seems to understand but still wants to drive it home:
So I just want to be clear that, for same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don't need to recover or anything?
The policy quite obviously doesn't cover any adoption. The sex of the parents is irrelevant. In adoption, no one has given birth. Ivanka laughs and says:
Well, those are your words, not mine. Those are your words. The plan, right now, is focusing on mothers, whether they be in same-sex marriages or not.
You're not going to get anything with the slightest tinge of homophobia out of Ivanka, I don't think. Gupta's effort to drum up the Cosmo reader's empathy for gay man should fail. The bigger problem  is that paid leave for mothers puts government money into skewing the decision of heterosexual couples toward the traditional division of labor.

Gupta's next question does have something to do with that problem, the stereotype that women are less valuable employees:
OK, I just wanted to make sure I understood. In 2004, Donald Trump said that pregnancy is an inconvenient thing for a business. It's surprising to see this policy from him today. Can you talk a little bit about those comments, and perhaps what has changed?
Ivanka doesn't seem to know what her father said 12 years ago, and she goes meta:
So I think that you have a lot of negativity in these questions, and I think my father has put forth a very comprehensive and really revolutionary plan to deal with a lot of issues. So I don't know how useful it is to spend too much time with you on this if you're going to make a comment like that....
She goes on about how good her father has been as an employer of women, and Gupta nonapologizes — she's sorry Ivanka finds the questions negative — and assures her that Trump really did say that pregnancy is "certainly an inconvenience for a business." He did. Ivanka says she doesn't know that he said that, and she's right to refuse to accept Gupta's presentation of what he said, which might be wrong (though it isn't) and might be out of context.

But Ivanka could have said: Her father was being admirably straightforward. Of course, it's an inconvenience when anything physical takes away from the employee's time and attention at work. But that has nothing to do with the woman's need to deal with recovery from childbirth. She must take some time to recover, and Trump's plan is to ensure that she has some paid leave.

And, if Ivanka had said that, Gupta should have said: But by making it even easier for the woman to take time off — 6 weeks off — aren't you going to intensify the inconvenience that employers see in women? Even your father — who, you say, has been so good with hiring and promoting women in his business — thought of their childbearing function as a problem. Aren't you proposing to spend government money to make that problem even worse, as it becomes more likely that female employees will take even more time away from work?

One more question, and it's not one I'd advise Gupta to ask: Won't this government spending draw women away from the workplace and the leaning-in style of careerism that feminism has promoted? As they have weeks of time alone with the baby, isn't government easing women into the comfort and happiness of the noncommercial life of the home and perhaps even a spiritual awareness that the best life is grounded in love and family and not a career at all?

71 comments:

traditionalguy said...

So what is best for the baby is irrelevant. The great problem we need to solve is the false impression that men and women are different.

Do these confused thinkers still believe babies are brought to earth by storks.

tds said...

If maternity leave was either convenient or neutral for business why would we need government to mandate it?

rhhardin said...

Women need time off to recover from political correctness.

Curious George said...

"was supposed to erode the stereotype that mothers are the primary caregivers."

I'm pretty sure "thousands of years and millions of examples of actual practice" is not the definition of stereotype.

rhhardin said...

Speaking of stereotypes, Amazon is recommending a maternity leave allegory

"When a gorgeous cheerleader is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a small Minnesota farming town, her "plain Jane" best friend must kill her, then escape from a correctional facility to go after the Satan-worshipping rock band responsible for the horrible transformation."

Everyone will be able to figure out who the players are.

Rob said...

Gupta fails to consider people who choose to identify as men but who have female reproductive organs, give birth and receive the Trumpian benefit. This it's the person who bears the child who receives the benefit, no matter what gender ze is.

BTW, does the Trump plan give the benefit to birth mothers who give up their baby for adoption? They need time to recuperate from childbirth but not to nurse, bond with and care for the infant.

Terry said...

"[P]aternity leave is said to be a great factor in creating gender equality."
The only part of that sentence that has an agreed upon definition is "paternity leave." It is not a sentence that conveys a fact, or even an argument, and it begs the question of whether 'gender equality', however defined, is a thing to be desired.

Karen of Texas said...

Trump wasn't the only one in the way back machine who recognized that women/childbirth are concerns for a business.

Back in the late 80s I had a supervisor, who was training me as a backup, offer the pearl of wisdom to try to not have more than one woman on any given project team (I was in the IT field.) *SHE* then expounded on the ramifications for deadlines, etc.

Hagar said...

Ah, the problems of the affluent gentry!

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Good, thoughtful presentation. The Toronto Star says: "Cosmo rips the halo off of Ivanka Trump." Once again, they have no idea how to cover this campaign with any kind of reasoning about evidence.

I thought Ivanka did a great job of spelling out the issue at the Republican National Convention. The famous wage gap, 80 cents on the dollar or whatever, is really driven by the difference between mothers, especially mothers with young children, and others. Absent that difference, there is no difference. Any attempt to raise the pay of all women, everywhere, would go far beyond the actual issue; improved maternity leave should help women combine childbirth and career. Providing paternity leave alongside maternity leave, in order to address the whole issue of gender equality, is changing the subject. Ivanka's argument seems to be: if you think women make less money because of (fill in the blank) discrimination, stereotypes, etc., there is no actual evidence for that.

Ann Althouse said...

"If maternity leave was either convenient or neutral for business why would we need government to mandate it?"

Who said it was?

Ann Althouse said...

Some businesses find it in their interest to give paid maternity leave. I know I got a nice, full-pay maternity leave from my law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell, in the summer of 1983. They wanted to be able to look like they cared about women's equality, I suppose, so it was in their interest in recruiting both males and females with the highest credentials, even if some of the women proceeded to not contribute top much to the enterprise, like me, who came back from leave and started looking for a lawprof position and left soon enough.

But leave is already required by the FMLA. The job must be preserved, but it isn't paid leave, and Trump's proposal is not to require businesses to pay mothers on leave. They can if they choose, but if they don't choose, the women go into an unemployment compensation type system.

Lance said...

When a gorgeous cheerleader is possessed by a demon and starts feeding off the boys in a small Minnesota farming town...

Wasn't that originally a Garrison Keillor story? Hm, maybe I'm misremembering.

rhhardin said...

If you want economic growth, don't force businesses to hire women.

Freder Frederson said...

Except Trump has promised maternity leave to adoptive parents too. So the physical recovery thing is just so much bullshit.

rhhardin said...

Menstrual leave would make women more equal then too.

Christopher B said...

Employers provide all sorts of benefits (both mandatory and non-mandatory) that various groups are unable to use. Using myself and my employer as an example

1) I had my Bachelor's degree when I started, and had no inclination to pursue an advanced degree such as an MBA. I had no reason to use the tuition assistance my company offers.

2) My position is salaried so requiring overtime pay provides no benefit for me.

3) I've not been in a position to use FMLA leave (the potential is there but since my parents have passed and my spouse is younger than I am it's unlikely)

4) Due to my length of service I get more vacation time than I can reasonably use (yeah, humble brag)

5) Our company health insurance covers a number of events I'll never encounter as a man.

Other than the social engineering, what makes offering maternity leave but not paternity leave different from these? Especially considering people who never have children, or adopt, also will never make use of it.

jaydub said...

I'll never understand the feminist mindset. In order for the feminist model of society to even be possible one must first disregard the millennia of social evolution that has developed the human family unit. Some ninety percent of females are hardwired for child care, nurturing and development as compared to males, and that is true across almost all higher order species. (It would be 100% if there were no feminists.) Almost all little girls prefer to play with dolls instead of trucks, just as their mothers and grandmothers did before them, because they are doing what comes naturally in learning how to care for their future young. It's innate because: evolution! How can otherwise intelligent people accept Darwin's theories as regards the origin of the species yet believe human behavior is primarily explained by some nefarious paternalistic plot?

Luke Lea said...

Didn't Trump say something about not having time for political correctness? This is a good example, and plays well from that perspective.

MagicalPat said...

We've been told for years by the pro choice crowd that we need to have abortion legal because sometimes a pregnancy is inconvenient for the woman. Maybe she's not ready yet, or it would get in the way of the pursuit of her career.

Trump says that pregnancy can be inconvenient for a business and he is chastised.

But why wouldn't it be inconvenient if you lost one of your top employees for 6-8 weeks due to childbirth?

For whatever reason an employee takes up to 2 months off, it will be inconvenient.

Are we not allowed to admit that?

TreeJoe said...

It's a smart proposal politically and there's some solid backing for it scientifically as well. Politically, it undercuts arguments about trump/republicans being "anti-woman" nicely. Arguing whether to pay for 6 week or 12 weeks is a different in policy specifics, not policy.

Scientifically, the act of childbirth is pretty frigging significant. In US society, we've really downplayed it - but there's a reason mothers have irresistable instincts to find safety, security, clean their house, and get organized before they go into labor - and in fact can delay labor if they don't feel those things. Women greatly benefit from a stable and low-stress home environment in the weeks following delivery (outside of the sheer act of childcare).

Further, socioeconomically, anything we can do to promote the US birth rate is a good idea from my perspective. If this increases the birth rate by .2, for example, the long term benefits to our country are enormous.

Rae said...

This shouldn't be an issue for federal regulation in the first place.

Chuck said...

So much, for Ivanka being the rising-star Trump. The Trump of the future who might actually be smart and informed and not prone to recklessly stupid denials of the obvious...

But no. Ivanka does that Trump thing of denying a clearly documented quote from The Donald, dragging the interview off into a silly backwater for no good reason. If I was the interviewer, I would make THAT part the subject of a whole new line of substantive questioning about the style and the credibility of the Trump campaign and the Trump family. I'd hammer her, and let her know that the next time she tried to play games it's gonna leave a mark.

Sebastian said...

"there's a natural difference between men and women, and if you are interested in women's equality, you might want to provide a benefit that covers that difference" Inching toward insight here. Political corollary to the Althouse law that differences must be presented in a way that favors women: differences must be treated in policy in a way that favors women. When feminists start demanding compensation for men suffering from 4-5 years lower life expectancy, a benefit that covers the most important difference of all, for the sake of fairly recognizing gender difference, we will believe they are interested in equality equality rather than difference equality. Otherwise, feminism remains what it has always been: the pursuit of female privilege in the guise of equality.

Gahrie said...

Because women give birth (and breastfeed), there's a natural difference between men and women,

Heresy!!!

Oh wait...it benefits women.....never mind........

William said...

There are some notable exceptions but, as a general rule, women smell nicer and feel softer than men. If you ask just about any newborn infant their preference as to who stays home, I'm pretty sure they would opt for mommy. Shouldn't babies also be involved in this debate and shouldn't their opinions be given some weight?..........Speaking of babies, I'm wondering how many babies have been infected with whatever weird disease is plaguing Hillary. Investigative journalists should be backtracking and seeking out mothers whose children have been hugged or kissed by Hillary. I bet she's responsible for a lot of dead babies. They're probably covering it up, because women get upset if you kill their babies (outside of a Planned Parenthood setting).......If Trump, while sick, had hugged any babies, you can be sure they would be nvestigating this angle. The really committed journalists would probably be strangling babies and then claiming the dead baby was killed by he Trump virus.

Gahrie said...

The strange truth is, that as childbirth has become safer and less painful, the more unwilling women have become to give birth.

Hagar said...

If you want to take time off with pay, that is a cost to the firm that has to be covered, and in the end it turns out to be by your co-workers, who has to produce extra revenue to cover for you. Some of them may be more willing than others to go along with that.
Or, in a small firm, the boss may consider you as an individual and pay you at a rate less than your co-workers so that he can average you out over the time you are collecting pay but not producing revenue.
In a larger firm, they won't know you as an individual, but may institute "policy" and pay employees based on "classes" and ecperience with your "class."

MadisonMan said...

kissed by Hillary

Has Hillary kissed a baby though. Try to find a picture of that happening. It ain't easy.

MayBee said...

If the baby is going to eventually be in child care all day, it's probably better for the baby to start bonding with the child care workers as soon as possible.

MayBee said...

If it's the government mandating it, then it should be the minimum. Of course companies can offer more if they want to.

But what happened to women powering through?

pdug said...

"The bigger problem is that paid leave for mothers puts government money into skewing the decision of heterosexual couples toward the traditional division of labor."

Why is that a problem. Why can't government reflect the traditions of its people? Should a government explicitly seek to skew towards *changing* the traditions of its people?

MayBee said...

This is proof though, that enough is never enough. There's always more to be demanded.

Sarah from VA said...

I think it's funny that people believe that paternity leave benefits equality. I live in a town with a big employer that relatively recently instituted 6 weeks paid leave, for mothers and fathers who either have a child or adopt. The leave can be taken at any point in the first year after the child joins the family. I know a number of families who have taken advantage of this policy. In EVERY case, the man has helped out a little at home (maybe one week of the leave) but then taken the rest of the time to advance his career -- finishing his Ph.D., writing up research articles, getting an extra certification, etc. So the effect of the policy is just to advance the careers of fathers versus everybody else -- childless men and women who don't get the leave to finish their degree, or mothers who take the time and actually use it for childcare.

Maybe what I've seen is not representative -- these are all families where the mother stays home with the children anyway -- but I'm skeptical that paternity leave has anything to do with equality.

Ann Althouse said...

"In EVERY case, the man has helped out a little at home (maybe one week of the leave) but then taken the rest of the time to advance his career -- finishing his Ph.D., writing up research articles, getting an extra certification, etc. So the effect of the policy is just to advance the careers of fathers versus everybody else -- childless men and women who don't get the leave to finish their degree, or mothers who take the time and actually use it for childcare."

Yes, I've seen articles about the subject. A question I have is why don't women use this time to do career-advancing things too?

I think I used my 1983 leave that way. I was planning to go on the market as a lawprof and I'd written a law review article that I was placing and editing.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the maternity leave period gives women a chance to test out whether they'd like to take the stay-at-home spouse role in life or maybe a less grueling career path. Figure out what really matters!

Some women will learn that they are NOT the stay-at-home type and will be eager to get to outsourcing the childcare. They'll see what they do in the leave position. They might be on the email or whatever, constantly getting back to their work from home. Or they might cut themselves off and see that they are not, at heart, careerists.

It's a good opportunity for women to sort out their feelings and make good choices in life and feel resolved about the choices they make. More happiness for everyone, perhaps.

Men can do that too, though they won't have paid leave under Trump's plan. Men can take a leave and see how they relate to the stay-at-home spouse position. Maybe their spouse is more the career person and a single-earner household is something he can do and the spouse can support.

Sarah from VA said...

"A question I have is why don't women use this time to do career-advancing things too?

I think I used my 1983 leave that way. I was planning to go on the market as a lawprof and I'd written a law review article that I was placing and editing."

Well, didn't you have a supportive husband in the home at the time, who took on the bulk of childcare? It's like that for these men with the stay-at-home wives. It's superfluous to have both parents home to take care of the babies, unless there are two more more babies. Once you've recovered physically from giving birth, it's not that time consuming. Babies sleep a lot (albeit erratically).

With women who have the leave but are in a two-income family, the husband's probably working, and she's using whatever extra time to catch up on the home projects and things that fall by the wayside when both adults are working. Or she's a single parent and just trying to catch her breath for a minute.

MayBee said...

Imagine being a baby, home with both of your parents for the first 6 weeks of your life. And then...bam!!! Suddenly you are in a room with 6 other babies and a bunch of crying toddlers and a woman wearing a a smock who will get to you when she can.

damikesc said...

Except Trump has promised maternity leave to adoptive parents too. So the physical recovery thing is just so much bullshit.

The physical part is the least of the issues. My wife was up and walking around just fine within a few hours of delivery. The bonding and all is quite vital.

rhhardin said...

there's a natural difference between men and women

That's a Tom Swifty.

L natus, born.

rhhardin said...

L nascor is a deponent verb, indicating that the Romans had trouble with birth too.

MayBee said...

Here's the question about bonding: Is it a vital national interest to the point that companies *must* provide 6 full paid weeks of bonding time?
If so, why? What other bonding situations are of vital national importance? New marriage time? Time after the death of a loved one? Time after a divorce?

It seems to me that it is very nice to have that bonding time, but not of vital national interest. If it's something is going to be mandated, it should be for physical/medical reasons.

MayBee said...

And I was up and walking around within hours of giving birth, but I wasn't "Just fine". I really hurt!

David said...

Oh, by the way, it's good for the baby to have extended full time maternal care. Which is why it's good for babies if the mothers are in a relationship with someone who has a full time paying job that will help facilitate the maternal availability. It's good to have the dad (or dad facsimile) around in the early stages, but the mom is more important.

Attention to all these other policies and goals reduces attention to the most important goal, which is for the mother to be with the child.

MayBee said...

A lot of people aren't really into babies. They like kids once they are more toddler-y. If it is about bonding, why not just be able to take a random 6 weeks off sometime during the life of your child, so you can spend time with them when you are ready?

Terry said...

We will never have gender equality in the armed forces until women can give birth in combat.

MayBee said...

David- exactly.

I just heard Hillary touting universal pre-K. All these things people want to pour money into taking babies away from their parents.

I think our culture would benefit greatly if it focused again on making a strong family the center of our policies.
I think our inner cities bear that out.

MayBee said...

Not everyone has a career, some people just have jobs.
And not everybody really has a family, some people just have kids.

So if you were someone who already had kids as a pretty thoughtless exercise, wouldn't it be great to get 6 paid weeks of vacation away from your hard, boring job? Would it incentivize or be a disincentive to people to have more kids they can't really raise?

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem for me is that it decreases the amount that women can demand in the labor force. If a guy is worth paying, say, $100k a year, then an identically qualified woman would be worth slightly to somewhat less. Maybe only $95k if she is newly married or of the age that tends to get married, and is in prime childbearing years. Figure this (back of envelope type calculation) by dividing the six weeks into a year, to get a roughly 10% cost of one year's salary, cut in maybe half due to women staggering kids and some not having them. So, the 5% value difference, due to this alone, is likely a cap (obviously, this cost would drop to zero as female employees lose their ability to have kids). This up to maybe 5% cost is in the noise in Ivanka's world, or even in the white shoe law firm world that Anne inhabited (for those outside the law world, her firm was one of a handful of super-elite law firms described this way). I should also note that top law firms today, and even apparently back then, are more than willing to pay whatever price is necessary to hire a politically correct mix of new associates every year, and paid maternity leave is likely less costly for them than, say, hiring for proper ethnic or sexual orientation representation. In any case, it is a cost that puts wonen in most positions at a disadvantage in relation to men, in the eyes of employers, which either, over the population of all private employers means either paying the women less for the same job, or hiring the identically qualified man first. And, of course, that would be politically incorrect, which would, uktimately, require government power and intervention to prevent and police.

Birches said...

Can't we just admit that women are the ones designed to care for an infant. We have the milk! I know there is formula and it is good (my first three were only formula), but we're mammals!! Science!! Babies should be with their mothers.

My spouse has taken a week off after our 2nd through fifth were born. He was helpful for the other kids. I didn't need any help with the baby, especially when I was nursing. We took care of ourselves quite well.

Bryan S. said...

What about self-employed women, are they left out of this program?

Birches said...

I also want to point out that some idiot on Twitter quoted that bit about the legal married parents and said that Republicans hate bastard children. Now seeing the context, it's obvious she was talking about not discriminating against same sex lesbian couples.

This is why people hate the media.

eric said...

That was a pretty solid interview of Ivanka Trump. I wonder what the interview would have looked like if she were a Democrat?

Well, the good thing is, I don't have to wonder.

However, that hard-hitting method did not seem to be applied when Gupta interviewed Chelsea Clinton in February. Questions included:

“What do you think of [Donald Trump’s] attacks on your parents?”
“What are the three biggest issues young American women face today, and how will Hillary Clinton's campaign address those issues?”
“Has there been any family time on the campaign trail? If so, do you have any interesting or fun moments you can tell us about?”
“If Hillary Clinton were elected president, would you and your family move into the White House?”
Clinton was allowed to talk in depth on each question, and apparently was not challenged about any of her answers.


This is why I've always got to vote Republican. At least then reporters will do their damn job.

mockturtle said...

Males and females are different. Get over it. We can have equality without having neutrality.

mockturtle said...

Maybee wisely suggested, I think our culture would benefit greatly if it focused again on making a strong family the center of our policies.
I think our inner cities bear that out.


I wholeheartedly agree! But Hillary thinks it's the village that raises the child, not the family. The family unit is in dire peril today. As for the inner city? IMHO, it's no place to raise a family. Families need space and fresh air.

ALP said...

"Some women will learn that they are NOT the stay-at-home type and will be eager to get to outsourcing the childcare. They'll see what they do in the leave position. They might be on the email or whatever, constantly getting back to their work from home. Or they might cut themselves off and see that they are not, at heart, careerists."

In the practice area I work in as a paralegal, our client contacts are frequently female, liberal-arts graduates that wound up in an HR or office manager role. Whenever one of them took maternity leave, our office would collectively groan as we knew from experience there was a 50/50 chance that the woman we spent a year or so "training" on the legal process would never return, and we would have to train all over again.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Trump really did say that pregnancy is "certainly an inconvenience for a business."

And.... so? He is right. It is an inconvenience for the business. How is this even controversial?

If your employee, who you have trained and who is a part of the function of your business needs to take off you have a gap in the organization that needs to be filled. The business needs to either temporarily hire or outsource that function OR needs to put a burden onto another employee to take up the slack caused by the vacancy.

A large business with many employees can handle this. A small business with a few employees cannot. Maternity leave can cause extra expenses and even cause the business to be harmed. Not just extra expenses but the loss of all the costs "sunk" into the training etc of the new parent.

Pregnancy IS an inconvenience and a financial burden to the business.

Jane the Actuary said...

What I'd like to know is this: is there any quantified "proof" that X number of weeks of bonding -- by one or both parents -- is necessary or valuable? If you say a parent can't be properly attached to a child, or a child to a parent, except with 6 weeks of constant time together, then most dads today are failures.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Althouse said: I think the maternity leave period gives women a chance to test out whether they'd like to take the stay-at-home spouse role in life or maybe a less grueling career path. Figure out what really matters!

This is an important part of maternity leave as well as the bonding etc. I was fortunate to work for a company that not only had a 3 month paid maternity leave but also allowed an additional 3 months of unpaid leave and would guarantee that you could return to your position. Extremely generous!!

Having a baby, especially the first child, is a staggering change to your life style and also to your body. Lack of sleep. The realization that this is a permanent very long term commitment. All the things and work that a baby requires, changing, feeding, washing clothing .....lack of sleep!! It takes time to adjust to this not just the mother but the father as well. You life will never be the same after adding a child to your relationship.

For myself, I realized that 1. I would have loved to be a stay at home mom. 2. My husband (at that time) was NOT supportive financially or emotionally and that to be SAHM would not be a good thing for me. SO, even though it was my desire to not go back to work, financially I had to do this. There was no other choice.

What really mattered was being able to eat, pay the rent and live. Career had nothing to do with it. I was extremely grateful to my company for allowing me the 6 months to be able to spend with my baby. You can't always get what you want, but at least I got 6 months.

hombre said...

See, Chuck's comment @ 8:14: There are jobs for vitriolic turds as Trump Derangement Syndrome reps at CNN.

It's only until November, but the benefit for Chuck would be threefold he'd be in the "bucket" with other "irredeemable" Trump haters, he could stop pretending he's not a Clinton troll and he'd have a real job.

Of course, there's no guarantee that he's not already on their payroll.

hawkeyedjb said...

"I think the maternity leave period gives women a chance to test out whether they'd like to take the stay-at-home spouse role in life or maybe a less grueling career path."

But then women will only make 77 cents on the dollar and that means employers are evil and discriminating and we have to beat up on them and make up all kinds of rules and demand a million reports because Inequality! Because nothing is ever ever ever the result of Choices, it can only be Discrimination!

buwaya puti said...

It does take a "village", even for the very well off, but not Hilary Clintons village.
A village of stay-at-home mothers who help each other out. Intelligent, capable, organized mothers having many babies are the core of the village. They are wasted at work, except within very narrow economic models.

MayBee said...

buwaya puti said...
It does take a "village", even for the very well off, but not Hilary Clintons village.
A village of stay-at-home mothers who help each other out. Intelligent, capable, organized mothers having many babies are the core of the village.


Agree completely, although I believe stay at home dads are great, too.

mockturtle said...

I was blessed to be able to be home with my children while they were young. Although motherhood interrupted my university education, I was able to finish it later. I cannot overemphasize how special those years with my young children were to them and to me. Such great fun and memories!

eric said...

I'm blessed that my wife gets to stay home with our kids. I love having our children grow up under her care and influence.

Joe said...

I'm confused; I thought women just powered through this?

Doug said...

Convince your employer that you can be spared for six weeks, and your employer will figure out a way to do without you WITH NO paid leave!

Doug said...

May-Bee said: I just heard Hillary touting universal pre-K. All these things people want to pour money into taking babies away from their parents.

All these things people want to take money away from non-parents to give to parents.

Ann Althouse said...

"Except Trump has promised maternity leave to adoptive parents too. So the physical recovery thing is just so much bullshit."

Could you link to something?

Are you sure your not confusing his govt plan with the plan he has in his business for his own employees?

I tried to research the point you are raising but am not seeing it. If you are right, it means that Ivanka doesn't know what the plan is.

SukieTawdry said...

Oh goody, another entitlement. Because you can never have enough.

stlcdr said...

Living is all about compromises. While it would be great that both parents get 6 weeks (why 6? Why not 8, 29 or 30 weeks?) paid vacation, the reality is that there has to be at least one bread winner - you have just added another mouth to feed. Yes, this is paid leave, but, as Trump has correctly said, it inconveniences the company; and as noted above, the co-workers. If an employee can take all that time off, do they really have a job?

Even if the end result is N weeks off for all - if they want it - it will continue to give advantage and opportunity to those who don't take it. It will continue to be a natural order (sic) where women will take the time and men don't. Earning in the private sector will always put you ahead more than ranking (again, sic) from the dot-gov.