I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but for the first time, I have respect for something a Fox News correspondent said.
Megyn Kelly just returned from maternity leave to find that radio host Mike Gallagher had been talking smack about the fact that she had three months off from work — saying that it was “a racket” and “unbelievable.” Big mistake. Kelly went to town on him in a pretty bad-ass way, pointing out that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t require employers for paid maternity leave. Via Think Progress:
KELLY: Is maternity leave, according to you, a racket?
GALLAGHER: Well, do men get maternity leave? I can’t believe I’m asking you this, because you’re just going to kill me.
KELLY: Guess what honey? Yes, they do. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act. If men would like to take three months off to take care of their newborn baby, they can. [...] Just in case you didn’t know, Mike, I want you to know that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Now I happen to work for a nice employer that gave me paid leave. But the United States is the only advanced country that doesn’t require paid leave. If anything, the United States is in the dark ages when it comes to maternity leave. And what is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby for nine months, that you don’t think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place, hmm?…You can’t answer the question because there is no answer, my friend.
It’s not only common sense that family-friendly policies are good for a country, but there are facts to back it up. Sweden’s required paid paternity leave has resulted in lower rates of divorce, more joint custody when folks do divorce, and the country is ranked as one of the top countries to be a mom. Think Progress also points out that paid maternity leave allows for a decrease in complications and recovery time for mothers.
And what do we have? Pregnancy discrimination, breastfeeding discrimination, shackling during labor, and lost wages due to the “motherhood penalty” (especially for low-income moms). God bless America.