5 Legal Issues to Consider When You Get Pregnant

05/06/2011 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy Mom, Esq.

Congratulations! Whether you were trying to get pregnant or just received the surprise of your life, there’s no question that seeing a positive sign changes everything.

If you’re anything like me, your mind instantly started firing off important questions: How should I decorate the nursery? What baby names are unique but not too weird? Where can I find really cute but not over-the-top expensive maternity clothes?

And you want nothing more than to hop on the Internet and immerse yourself in mommy-blogger heaven.

And then, all of a sudden, some less fun questions creep into your mind. For example: What will my boss say? How can I afford to take time off from work? How can I find (and pay for) reliable child care? Then, your heart starts to beat a little faster and anxiety sets in.

I know all about this because not only did I live it myself when I found out that I was pregnant with my son, but also after practicing employment law at a well-known entertainment law firm in Los Angeles for seven years I witnessed this scenario over and over again with my celebrity clients.

Now, I run my own practice — Mom, Esq. — that helps other moms like me (the just as fabulous but not as famous women in the world) with the employment law issues that go hand in hand with parenthood.

So, to help you calm your nerves so you can get back to the more important business of creating your baby registry, here is my list of the top 5 important legal issues to consider when you get pregnant:

Maternity Leave: While definitely not qualifying as a vacation by any stretch of the imagination, most working women will be entitled to a protected leave of absence either during their pregnancy if they are disabled and/or after the baby is born. Federal law generally allows women to take up to 12 weeks off from work if they work for an employer who has 50 or more employees and if they have worked for that employer for at least one year and 1,250 hours.

Many state laws also offer other protected leaves of absence, so women should absolutely check with their state’s department of labor to find out what laws protect them in the workplace (in California, some employees are entitled to up to seven months of protected leave when their babies are born, so it’s worth the time to find out your rights!).

Once women are confident that their pregnancies are healthy, they should absolutely speak with their Human Resources department to find out their employer’s policies, but women should double check to make sure that their employer knows the law and is providing all of the benefits to which pregnant employees are entitled.

Paternity Leave: Good news! Your partner is probably eligible to take time off, too! So you can tell him that he should hone up on his diaper-changing skills. Many of the laws that protect women’s right to take time off after a baby is born also apply to new dads. Make sure that your partner checks into his rights so that you can feel comfortable that you will have his support when the baby comes and so that he will be able to bond with the baby, too.

Hiring Household Help: Whether you’re planning to hire a baby nurse or a nanny, or do it all yourself, chances are you will need to have a babysitter at least every once in a while. If you have someone coming into your home with any regularity, you are probably paying him or her enough to qualify as an employer … which means that you have to withhold taxes, pay proper overtime, carry workers’ compensation insurance, etc. Take the time during your pregnancy to understand your obligations to the people you hire so that you won’t have to worry about it once the baby comes.

Returning to Work (or Not): While you do not have to tell your employer exactly what you intend to do after your leave is over, you should begin to think about what you might want to do with respect to professional life when you become a mother. If you think you may want to return to work on a part-time or flexible schedule, do some sleuthing ahead of time to see whether your employer has allowed these sorts of arrangements in the past and how you may be able to position your proposal so that it will be considered favorably.

If you are still breastfeeding when you return to work, contact your Human Resources department before your first day back about clean and private areas where you can pump so that it is not an issue on your first day back in the office. If you do not want to return to work, keep your eyes and ears open to learn whether your employer offers severance packages that could benefit you and your family when you give your notice.

Family Finances and Future Planning: Spend some time during your pregnancy getting your financial house in order. If you or your partner is taking an unpaid leave of absence, make a plan for how you will make ends meet during that time. And, if you don’t already have an estate plan in place, now is the time to meet with an attorney to put one together and to carefully consider who should be the guardian in the event that you need someone to step in and care for your child. Trust me, I know that this is not a fun way to spend your time or money, but it is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and your child.

— Lisa Pierson Weinberger, ESQ.

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Anonymous on

wow i am glad i live in Canada after hearing what the regulations are for Mat leave in the USA…

KRS on

Up to 12 weeks? That’s it? I’m with you, Anonymous! 1 year paid (66%, or thereabouts) leave, and no worries about having my job waiting for me when I got back. I know people who even have their E.I. “topped up” by their employers, so there’s no loss of income at all while they’re off for that all-important first year. I’m sure hoping not all states have the same cheap-ass regulations, and she’s just citing some bad examples?! I don’t know, maybe I’m paying too much employment insurance or income tax or something here in Canada, but it sure seems worth it to me. Canada (and Canadian girls) rocks!

Louise on

Amen! I live in the UK and am on mat leave now, it’s 9 months paid, and I get another 3 months unpaid. My relatives in Norway feel sorry for me as they get a full year. Will have to let them know that it isn’t so bad after all.

cn tower on

Wow, I’m in Canada too (thank God!!) and even though I knew mat. leave was more generous here, I didn’t realize how much. No wonder I often hear about mothers who have difficulty breastfeeding — with a cr*ppy support system like that, I would be amazed if anyone could continue for 12 months.

Lily on

Most Americans( thankfully) think that it’s not the Government’s responsibilty to supply a paycheck through tax dollars for those who make the choice to have a child.

Amanda on

I don’t think any state in the US has different regulations for maternity leave unfortunately. I’m in Wisconsin and I know of women who had to go back to work 2 weeks postpartum because many, many companies do not offer paid maternity leave and short term disability has it’s own requirements.

I’m a stay at home mom myself so I don’t know all of the details but none of the women I know who had to go back at 2-6 weeks were woman who would’ve wanted to unless they had no other choice, it’s really sad. It’s really no wonder we have such crappy breastfeeding stats and lots of postpartum depression.

Unknown on

yeah it’s a bit ridiculous here…I can take off the full 3 months but it’s all unpaid. So I doubt I will be able to do that. It’s very frustrating to know that I will have to put my infant daughter in day care at around 6 weeks old. Just breaks my heart!

Amy on

Sadly, she’s not citing bad examples! I live in MA and for a vaginal birth my employer only pays 5 weeks leave at 70% from short term disability. I’m going to take the full 12 weeks, but I’ve had to save up vacation time, and the rest will be unpaid! Makes me very sad!

AJ on

And that 12 weeks isn’t even paid… I had 6 weeks of vacation/sick time that I used and the rest unpaid, I had to pay them to cover my health insurance.

Tarat3232 on

I agree that 12 weeks isn’t a huge amount of leave (especailly if it isn’t paid, which is a possibility,) but I don’t really get a whole year of paid maternity leave. To me, this makes pregnancy and delivery seem like a disability. It knocks you on your feet, and you should have time to adjust to motherhood, but why should my company pay me not to work for a year!?! That doesn’t seem to make any sort of sense. Yes, I know the arguments about social democracy and caring for the individual, but I wouldn’t want to be out of the loop at my workplace for a year and then have to get back into the swing of things. I would rather work out half-time or work-from-home strategies so that I remain a healthy, balanced, mommy.

But then, I work in academia where any amount of maternity is a rarity and pregnant academics are frowned upon.

Sat on

The best advice in this piece is the estate plan!

Kelly on

The US could learn a lot from Canada and the UK as far as leave goes. I’ve thought that for a very long time.

Kylie on

This is nothing new here in the states, and a lot are back at work weeks after the baby is born and dont even (and cant afford) to take the whole 12 weeks. It’s sad that here in America, we are expected to go through childbirth, bond with our child, recover, and get into the swing of a new life, all within 12 weeks. All while trying to figure out how to affford it. Mothers and families in the US arnt exactly, and enver have been, treated all that well.

CanadaLove on

I knew that maternity leave in the US was only 12 weeks… but I didn’t know that it was unpaid, and you are only eligible if your employer has more than 50 employers. Wow!

In Canada it is much different, and the amount of money you receive is NOT paid for by the government. It a form of employment insurance that all Canadians pay into. Of course, you may return to work before the year is up and earn your normal wage.

While I believe all women are entitled to a full year off, I do understand that it is a personal choice and may not be an option for everyone.

M on

Thankfully we don’t have paid maternity leave in America. Good! I’d hate to live in Socialist Europe where half of my income is taken away to give mothers a year off from work and even get government sent nannies to take care of their kids for free while they sit on their lazy asses. I’m sorry, but if you can’t afford to have kids then don’t have them. I am 100% against handouts.

LMiller on

In the U.S., employers who qualify pay into an insurance fund for this, like unemployment benefits. It’s not free money, or taxpayer’s money, to put it simply it’s insurance fund money. This is what it’s for. Many European countries have very generous benefits to encourage women to have children because the cost of living is so high and their populations are aging rapidly…this is a benefit for society as a whole. The U.S. as a whole has yet to realize that the better we treat every person in society, the better our society will be.

KRS on

Tarat3232, I’m told by women I know in their 50’s and older that when they had their babies here in Canada the paid leave was only 12 weeks, and at some point that changed to 6 months. In 2001 it went to 1 year. It’s not mandatory, by the way, to take that much leave, but it’s lovely having the option. The money isn’t from the employer or the taxpayers either. It comes from Employment Insurance, which is a small deduction from each paycheck…well worth it for those of us who need (or just plain enjoy) to work, and can’t fathom dropping a tiny infant off at a daycare! Wow, I hope that attitudes in your field will change someday to become more accepting of personal choices – sounds a little discriminatory.

Anonymous on

Amanda, I am having a hard time believing that you know people who went back to work after 2 weeks considering most doctors don’t release patients back to work that quickly and therefore an employer would not take an employee back. Just curious but what does working and breastfeeding have to do with one another?? If people don’t want to pump, then don’t pump, but to say it is because they are working, that is not an excuse. All employers by law are required to provide breaks and access to pumping.

JM on

M educate yourself just the teensie tiniest bit on Europe. (and socialism for that matter). glad i don’t live in a country where people are selfish and believe that you shouldn’t help other people, and everyone should just look out for themselves, aaah capitalism. (see it works both ways).

Hilary on

I’m from the US and I disagree with M and Lily. I don’t think most women that have had children would agree with Lily’s assessment. I would like longer maternity time off AND still keep my job. But apparently per their posts I’m a socialist, lazy person and anti-American idealist etc. Or maybe it’s that I’m a GOOD mother and a damn good career professional?

cn tower on

Something tells me that M and Lily are not parents. Just a thought.

D. on

I am a 36 year old, mom of 3, professional woman who lives in Canada. I have taken one year mat leave with all three of my children. I am by NO means lazy, unwilling to work, or looking for handouts. I happen to be lucky enough to live in a country that supports a longer maternity leave than most. To say we are taking “handouts” because we make the choice to stay home with our children for the first year and collect benefits while doing so is absurd. Canadians are taxed to death- I don’t consider it a “handout” when I take my children to a specialist and it is covered through healthcare – nor do I consider it a “gift” when my neighbour receives chemo for her breast cancer which is also covered through healthcare. We have paid for these benefits!

Molly on

Hilary and M, they still don’t realize that we have programs that are socialism like medicare and unemployment checks. I doubt that they know what socialism is.

M on

JM – Its not being selfish when you work your ass off to make money and have half of it taken away to help others. How is that fair? I honestly don’t care about poor mothers and their children, its not my responsibility to care or help them. People should think twice before having children. I’m not going to give MY hard earned money away to help a woman who was too stupid to wait until she can afford to have kids. Why do you think you have a right to tell people what they can do with their money? Taxes are high enough as is in America (31% in the state of California not counting property and sales tax). Why is it alright for someone who makes 270,000 per year to have 82,500 taken away by taxes? Or on the opposite extreme, why is it fair for someone who makes 20,000 a year to have 6,200 a year taken away by taxes? After taxes, they go from decent living to downright poor. How is that fair?! And don’t forget property and sales tax!

Don’t you dare call someone who doesn’t want to give money away to taxes selfish. How about YOU are selfish for wanting to take away somebody’s hard earned money just so you can sit on your lazy ass for a full year after you have a baby? Think about it. Income and Property tax are unconstitutional and illegal and the government is exploiting us.

Amanda on

@ M- If you’re against taxes, then move to Grand Cayman Islands. Cost of living is high but you aren’t taxed. I do agree that no one has the right to tell anyone how to spend their money though. Unfortunately, things are going to get much worse tax wise for us all.

Hayley on

Amen to those who say no way to handouts! I made the decision to have my children, it is not my governments responsibility to pay me for the time I chose to take off with them!

Marie on

I had a baby last year & had pre & post complications. I was terminated while I was out with a pregnancy related disability. After many years as a faithful employee, I feel I was treated quite badly.

Thank goodness for my precious bundle of joy though.

GG on

We certainly do have paid maternity leave in the US. But it’s part of a benefits package and would depend on the employer. Many employers offer paid leave, albeit 6 weeks, but still 100% paid. Others also offer the option for unpaid parental sabbatical after the leave runs out. I live in the US and my employer provides 12 weeks paid maternity leave (at 100%). Additionally, I’m eligible for another 26 weeks paid short term leave to use pre-delivery as needed. Frankly, I’m trying to figure out where you guys work?!?!

C on

Unlike the US, Canada has a shrinking population. We encourage families to have children to support our aging population. The problem we face is that with many baby boomers getting ready to retire, our employment base for taxes is declining. We pay for Employment Insurance as part of our deductions from our wages. If you don’t pay into the system, you can’t collect maternity or paternity leave, but our old age pension program pays everyone. Our country is more collectivist and more liberal than the US. As someone who lived in the US for more than 30 years, I would say Canada is a more compassionate country and I’m glad my taxes support benefits to our population. I don’t think we’re lazy and I suspect those who hold such hateful opinions haven’t ventured into this beautiful country.

Alma on

Ugh I’m glad, I live in Iceland and you get 1 paid year with your baby.

I think it’s very important to get a long time with your baby the first year, as the baby needs a lot the first months, and for you, to bond with it and she the baby changing every day. I have 4 children and I could not imagine missing my babies first years of their lives.

cn tower on

Amanda – good comeback. M, thanks for the amateur economics lesson, but your argument is simplistic and flawed. BTW, how many kids do you have?

Michelle on

M, you are one ignorant piece of work. You don’t understand what it means to have a child. You most definitely don’t sit on your ass all day and have a nanny to watch your child on maternity leave. You are up at all hours, physically and mentally exhausted, and don’t have time to yourself to eat or sleep. Nannies are for celebrities and royals. Guess what? There’s never a time when you can afford to have a baby. Go get a life. I pray that you never have kids, because no one would want such an uncaring, unfeeling person for a mother.

CryingoutLoud on

So let me understand. YOU decide to have a child, YOU decide to take time off work and the Government has to PAY YOU? Oh hell no. Where’s my “Single person needs to explore the world for a year while being Paid” Leave? And to expect a company to be able to hold your job open for you, after having to pay someone to come in and cover for you, then they’re out of job while you waltz back in?

You want to have a kid? Save your money. and then have one when you can afford one. All these “entitlements” are beyond ridiculous.

@Kylie – you are not “expected” to do anything. Having a child is a personal choice – you are expected to have one. Taking time off to bond with that child is a personal choice – you are not expected to do it.

Sarah on

I love how it’s ASSumed that a mom raising her child “sits on her ass” and accepts hand outs. LOL.

J.D. on

M – Have you ever seen on your paycheck a deduction for maternity leave benefits? No. What you should see if you have ever read it are deductions for state tax, federal tax, social security, and whatever benefits you choose to receive from your employer.

What maternity leave is, in essence, is a right to return to work with the same benefits/pay after you have a child (it’s extended to people adopting, taking care of another family member, etc.). There is no requirement for the employer to pay you. In most cases, larger employers will pay you (i.e., not the gov’t or taxpayers) a portion of your pay for that time period. Usually, it’s to ensure their trained, experienced professionals come back after maternity leave and don’t go somewhere else.

Part of the reason for maternity leave, if you are not familiar with constitutional rights and history (it would not surprise me if you were unaware because you would be like most Americans), is that you cannot be discriminated against by an employer if you are pregnant. This applies in every situation, to get a job, to hold a job, etc.. Because, imagine if it weren’t the case, and pregnant women could be discriminated against. We would have many women out of work, relying on spouses, creating dependency, or relying on state benefits–WHICH MEANS YOU WOULD BE PAYING FOR IT!

So, you see, it is advantageous to you to have employers offer time off and possible compensation for maternity leave. It’s also the cost of living in a society, caring for the future of children, emotionally and psychologically, so that they grow up to be productive members of society. If I may ask, M, where was your mother?

BTW – M, the government is taking your hard-working tax dollars, and mine, and uses it for many wasteful things, just look up “pork spending.” That said, your barking up the wrong tree, so to speak.

The sad thing is that M’s views are similar to many other Americans views. I think a lot has to do with ignorance of the law and of rights, but I think it also has to do with hearing stories of people abusing these rights, like unemployment, food stamps, etc.. You should do your research and contact your state representatives.

M on

@ Amanda

No, I’m not going to move anywhere. I like living in America despite the high taxes, they are still much lower here than they are in Europe. Just because I have a problem with how the government works and how high the budget it, does not mean I should leave. It is actually quite patriotic to question your government and ask for change. As I said before, taxes are unconstitutional and illegal. Income tax was meant to be temporary to raise money for the civil war. Americans were promised taxes would only be temporary. Well, guess what, the civil war has been over for 146 years and we are still being unfairly taxed. No matter what the government says or does, taxes still ARE technically illegal.

@ D

You can stay at home with your children without getting handouts from the government. If you can’t afford to stay home without government assistance, DON’T HAVE CHILDREN!!!! Don’t expect others to want to give their money away to support you. You can call it selfishness, but its not. If I worked hard for my money, why would I want to give it away to strangers? I am currently in Medical School and I can expect to make about $275,000/year when I graduate and finish my residency. Who are you to tell me that I have to give 80,000 away to taxes? What if I buy a mansion and the property tax alone is $80,000? Is it fair that I have to give my hard earned money to the government when I could be spending it on my own expenses? What if I want to go on an extravagant vacation? Again, who are you to tell me that I can’t? Its my money and whether I want to blow it on designer clothes or a jet plane or a vacation house, that is MY business and it is MY right. My money, my decision! Nobody has a right to take my money away and then call me selfish when I worked hard for it.

Socialism doesn’t work. Don’t act like Canada has such an amazing health plan. I have relatives in Canada and they tell me they have to wait MONTHS to get a doctor’s appointment. Also, I do not want to pay for somebody else’s healthcare. Let’s say an individual is 400 lbs with diabetes and hypertension, it is the person’s fault they are experiencing these health problems because they continuously overeat, why should the tax payers be burdened? America has expensive health care, but the doctors and nurses need to be paid. The average nurse in California makes $90,000/year and the average doctor makes $225,000. The same can not be said for Canada. If you want good health care and, most importantly, if you RESPECT your doctor, then you must understand that he/she deserves to be paid for his/her hard work. Do you know how hard medical school is? Do you know that every doctor has to complete a minimum 3 year residency where they literally work over 100 hours per week and basically go sleepless for those 3 years? Do you know that most doctors graduate owing $185,000 in student loans? Its a hard job and they deserve to be compensated for their time and efforts. My partner’s father is a cardiologist from France, and he says he only made about $60,000 after taxes in France. Guess how much he makes working in Beverly Hills? About $250,000 after taxes. Do you think that’s a bad thing? Do you think he is selfish for wanting to be wealthy, wanting to live in a luxurious house in a crime free neighborhood, wanting to be able to fund his children’s education? wanting to go on vacations, etc?

Tara h on

Completely agree with you. I used to live in the UK for ten years. It is very much a socialized system particularly with health care, which is mediocre at best ( they diagnosed my cancer as anemia!- but that’s another story). I would not call them lazy nor do they expect handouts- because it’s what they know as the norm. I did find fault with mandatory taxes taken out for NHS services despite not using them for 7 years. I do agree that it is not the government nor tax payers responsibility to facilitate others ability to have children. The welfare system is a never ending cycle of non accountability. It’s created an entire “give me something for nothing” society.

I am the mother of one and fortunately am financially stable so no longer have to work outside the home. If the USA ever followed the route of the Europeans ( which sadly is becoming more of a reality) I would have a very difficult time coming to terms with the fact that despite the fact that I worked hard for my lifestyle and waited to have my child until I could afford one, I would be responsible for taking care of those who were not as prudent or forward thinking.

Heather on

Wow so glad I live in Canada…. 1 year paid leave and they’re talking about increasing it to 18 months. Why shouldn’t the government cover it? We pay into the system, and rearing a child is important work. There’s nothing more necessary than a baby having their mother available for their every need during that first year. I can’t imagine going back to work 12 weeks after my baby was born. And not being compensated for that time either. My employer topped me up to 95% for the first 6 weeks and then I got my standard 55% for the rest of the year. I’m going back to work next week after 1 year off and not only am I beyond grateful I had that time, I’m also brokenhearted that it’s over.

Erin on

M – you are an absolute hoot. I assume you’re going to turn down your Social Security and Medicare, right? And that you don’t take your mortgage deduction, because that’s pretty socialistic as well. See, everyone likes the part of “socialism” that helps THEM. It’s time you stopped being scared about socialism and realize that you’re damn lucky you live in this country. The tax rate is at the lowest it’s been since the 1950s, when the Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, set a 70+% rate for the highest wage earners. You sound ridiculous.

showbizmom on

Just like to say to the NON Americans that ‘M’ does NOT speak for all or most of Americans. I love my County, but can’t stand the ignorance that runs rampant in this Country.

Kate on

The knee-jerk reaction American’s seem to have towards taxes and social benefits really amazes me. It is so weird to me that everyone is ok with the fact that only a small number ‘make it’ and the rest essentially live in poverty and most have to pretty much work constantly to survive. I am a disabled student and if I lived in the USA I would be homeless. It is not wrong to help other people. There are people who don’t deserve it, and I do wish that goverments were better at weeding them out. I am making sure that I give back when I am better and so I am studying very hard. One day soon I will have a job and will pay taxes to help people in situations like mine. Taxes are a little high, and I wish the goverment was a little more careful with funds so that they could lower them, but I can’t imagine having to pay thousands for healthcare instead.

Pregnancy is a choice, but looking after your child is instinct. It would be awful to want to stay home with your child but feel like you had to return to work so you didn’t lose your job and so you could get by. It is important to have some leave – say 3 to 6 months paid. What is the point of having a child only to return to work within weeks and leaving them in daycare? I am not judging those who do, I just don’t understand it. It must be so hard to try to do both. We all say that women can do both, I just wish that society was set up a little better so that the women who do want to do both were fully supported. There should be more options between full-time work/daycare and stay-at-home-mom.

M on

@ Erin – I’m not a republican, so thanks for rubbing in my face that taxes were highest under a republican’s rule. I don’t care.

I don’t need medicare because I have health insurance. I do not need social security because I am not retired, and I doubt I will ever need it because I will have money saved for retirement. I didn’t say I am against ALL socialistic aspects. Don’t put words in my mouth. I said I am against full blown socialism and, mainly, HANDOUTS. Of course disabled people need government assistance, as do elderly people, and people who have been victims of the economy (i.e. people who were laid off but are actively seeking a new job). I am not against taxes completely, I am just against high taxes, and the current tax rate (along with property tax) is ridiculously high and unfair.

The bottom line is If you can’t afford to have a child and take time off from work, do NOT have a child. Why is this so hard to understand? If you have no money saved for “rainy days” and need government assistance after giving birth, chances are you are not financially stable to have a child in the first place.

There are some people who NEED government assistance (e.g. elderly, disabled), but new mothers do not qualify.

Seriously, why is it so difficult to understand that a hard working person does not want to give their money away to taxes? I’m sure when homeless individuals approach you for money you are disgusted and tell them to get a job. How is this any different? Don’t beg for money. Really, why am I expected to care about other people? There are billions of people on this earth, it would be ridiculous to think that I should be financially responsible for anyone other than myself or my family members.

Its not my problem if people can not afford to take care of their child, or if they can afford to treat their health problems, and I’m not the only one who feels that way. If most americans wanted socialized health care, it would’ve been done by now. You can call me a crazy “tea bagger” or republican (which I’m not), but the truth is that there are more fiscal conservatives in this country than liberals. Socialism does sound nice in theory, but it does not work. Its not realistic to think that all humans are equal and should all have access to the same things. I’m sorry, but that’s not how it works. Some people work harder than others and deserve to live a better lifestyle and have access to more things. As a future doctor, it offends me that anyone would even have this kind of attitude. Why do you think that a doctor would even want to treat you if you do not respect him/her? Sure, most doctors go into the field with the desire to help people, but its quite foolish to believe they would work for free or cheap. If you believe in socialism, you agree that doctors don’t deserve to be rich. In Europe, doctors are not rich like they are here in America because they have half of their income taken away so people can have free health care (which, by the way, is no where near as efficient as the health care in America).

ember on

Wow… I’m glad I’m in Norway… The parents get either 46 weeks with 100% payment, or 56 with 80%. Of those the father has to have 12! You have to work for 6 out of the last 10 months to earn this right. No one here talks about paying for other peoples maternity leave, it’s one of the rights we’ve fought for – and earned. We’re also under protection of the law so the i.e. no one can get fired because she got pregnant or during maternity leave. We also have the right for up to one year unpaid maternity leave AFTER the paid one.

Jillian on

Gg, what you stated is not common at all, so consider yourself lucky. By law, under FMLA an employer is only required to give you 12 weeks off of unpaid time per calendar year, as long as you meet certain requirements. Once you go beyond that the employer can terminate you as your job is not protected under FMLA, even if you are on Shor Term Disability. I have worked in this area for a long time and have never heard of anyone getting 26 weeks maternity leave….in the US. Unless you are in a state I am unfamiliar with. If you worked in my area you would have 12 weeks….that’s it. I am confused why your employer would pay you 26 weeks pre delivery?! So a total of a 10 month leave?!? Again, feel lucky and check the laws bc you are only protected for 12 weeks.

mary on

M. You sound like someone who would support Walker/Ryan and their dumb arse ideas.

If we don’t pay taxes then we wont have police, fire, prosecutors, judges, DPW and lets not forget public schools. I could go on and on. And we know that the rich and the poor use those services. Yes some people ‘milk’ the system, but I personally know some of those wealthy ($150,00 and up) people who happen to ‘milk’ the system even more.

And some peoples ignorance comes from the republicans who have divided the working class against eachother. Some people are not doing thier homework and only listening to Fox or politicians. Do me a favor and talk to some of your local police, fire, DPW, teachers or stop at a VA look around. Then think about what they have said.

M on

@en tower

I did not give any economics lesson. My argument is not flawed, its my opinion. Yes, its simple, but apparently too complex for your understanding since you can not even address anything I actually said. Just answer this question: Why do you think the government has a right to take 31% of my income away? I could understand 3-10%, but 31 is completely excessive and could really damage someone. One of my close family friends owns a restaurant, and her restaurant is pretty busy and fairly successful, but guess what? After taxes (both income and property), all her remaining money goes towards living expenses (i.e. bills, food, mortgage). She makes just enough money to survive, but not to secure her future. This means she lives month by month, and is always at risk of losing everything. How is this fair?

Daniella on

It really depends on your employer here in the United States. My aunt was able to take off about 6 months of paid-maternity leave from her job while my mother (who was an air traffic controller at the time) was only able to take off 4 weeks with my brothers & myself. Many of the most ‘professional’ jobs (doctors, nurses, professors, engineers, etc.) get the least amount of time because there’s often no one to temporarily replace them on the job.

Considering I’m going into one of those stated professions, I’ll likely only be looking at about 3 months at the most of paid leave. However, I’ve got a mother who’s already volunteered to watch my future children while my husband & I work, so I really shouldn’t be complaining about anything.

Sara on

I have seen the tiny babies in my daughter’s daycare.. they look like small abandoned creatures of despair! I feel sorry for these women and their babies.

Sara on

Wow M, life is pretty good in “Socialist Europe”, trust me!

sinclair on

“Do you know that every doctor has to complete a minimum 3 year residency where they literally work over 100 hours per week and basically go sleepless for those 3 years?”

Uh, M, that is not completely accurate. I believe the cap is 80hrs, set years ago. Nothing to sneeze at, but it ain’t 100, hun.

Baberdoo on

I am an American living in Ukraine at the moment, working at a school. Maternity leave here is for 3 years. Paid! After that, you get the choice of if you want 3 more years, unpaid. However, your job will always be there afterwards. I’m not saying this is an amazing thing as the quality of life here is much less than in either America, Canada or the UK but when I heard it the first time I was shocked!

Hoopla on

@ showbizmom

I totally agree. I am only 17 and I think some of these people are extremely ignorant and quite embarrassing. I respect their opinions (really, I do); however, I am tired of the rest of the world viewing us as ignorant and narrow-minded conservatives that jump at the tiniest mention of something that’s un-American. I love the US and I don’t want to leave, but some things here scare me.

JM on

applauding J.D.

M you really do strike me as an ignorant person (not least because you keep referring to Europe as if it is one single country).
i guess in your world you don’t think it is right to help the poorer more vulnerable people in society. i judge a society by how it treats it’s most vulnerable citizens, according to your beliefs they would be left out in the street to rot.

as far as health care goes, well not having nationalised health care is really working out a treat for you in america isn’t it? but i guess you can afford it and have never looked beyond your own little sugar coated world to the 45.000 americans who die every year because they can’t afford health care. that would never happen in the uk. my husband and i both earn well and so i am HAPPY to pay my taxes to keep the NHS alive so that everyone can enjoy healthcare.

really M, going by what you are saying it sounds like you believe that if someone is poor it is their own fault. what a sad and narrow-minded world you must live in. i sincerely hope you don’t have children, we don’t need those values past on any further. i bring my children up to understand that areas in life in which they are fortunate and that not everyone is that fortunate and this means we have a duty to help fellow human beings. we can choose to be selfish and live in a bubble or we can choose to do the right thing.

DR.R on

@ M
WOW! You just about rendered me speechless.It seems to me that the only reason your choosing the feild you are is because the income you’ll recieve. You say how US doctors study hard and work our butts off well yes you’re correct but WE chose to do it because it’s all about HELPING our patients and understanding their cases. Sure some mothers may not be financially stable but thats were our COMPASSION comes in.When you start doing your clinicals you’ll meet patients with unfortunate stories as to why they need goverment founding. I can honestly say that I became a Doctor to HELP people and if it means by a way of my tax deduction so be it.I’am baffeld that you say you have no care for “poor mothers and their children” I understand it’s not your responsibility to care for them financially but once again theres a little something called COMPASSION. If you have none you belong in the political field not medical!

Elizabeth on

M, your comments about homeless people are unbelievable. You’re disgusted if they ask you for money and tell them to get a job? I think you must have had a very sheltered upbringing. For someone who’s training to be a doctor you have an astounding lack of compassion.

You ask why a doctor would “want” to treat someone who didn’t respect them – have you ever heard of the hippocratic oath? Many doctors are willing to and do offer their services cheap/for free because they are devoted to their professions and genuinely want to help people. Not all doctors are drawn to the profession for the financial benefits.

Tara H on

Hey everyone just because you believe in people taking responsibility for their own actions in life does not make one ignorant. After living the majority of my life overseas I appreciate the American way much more. Handouts don’t work, neither do excuses. Just visit the inner city and see how well welfare and public assistance has accomplished. Unless you want to help yourself you cannot advance. Do not give me the poverty is not their fault line. I was raised in foster care and then at age of 18 got a scholarship to Harvard them went to the Sorbonne and the LSE in London. I never took a dime from anyone and was raised on food stamps and public housing. My other foster siblings chose to go the route of government assistance. 3 are now dead due to their own actions, 2 are in jail and 1 has 4 children by 4 different men. We had the same “guidance” and exact same opportunities. It was their choice to take this road because the government enabled this behavior.

Stop calling anyone who believes in accountability ignorant especially those who do not live in this country. Brits, French and swedes I have lived in all your countries and I can tell you that elitism is rampant in everyone. And socialism is the great equalizer for only a few. Get off your judgmental high horses and learn a bit instead of jumping on everything M has to say.

jessicad on

I’m an American and I absolutely do not think like M, I find her attitude extremely selfish. You guys please don’t generalize like that! 🙂


cn tower on

Hey M,
Now that we’ve all got our fill of economics and your opinion on all matters tax-related, I suggest you check out other web sites that may do a better job at catering to your interests. This site is called “Moms & Babies” and from your comments, I highly doubt you are a mom and doubt even more that you are remotely interested in babies and the various aspects of childrearing.

Tara H on

For all those using the constitution as a guideline your arguments are fraught with inconsistency. First of all the USA was predicated on individual responsibility. Our fore fathers escaped taxation without representation. The very crux of the basis for independence was accountability. Without these core beliefs we would have never have become the most powerful nation in the world. The on,y reason we economically are failing within the past 50 years is because of this “welfare” ideology. Sure we could go the other way of oppression like China to get ahead but that is not how we operate.Additionally all of you from countries who consider us ignorant are the first with your hands out in times of crisis. And who is it that answers? Americans. We as a nation are the most generous and supportive than any other in the world, I have lived in over 35 different countries and I can honestly say this perceived hatred of the USA is born out of jealousy and fear of a people ability to be self reliant and resilient. If you give a mouse a cookie, they will take the entire jar!

Furthermore to all of you who say you are ashamed to be American with your peers views on this board I ask how is it that you are able to voice your disgust with policy? It is due to the fact that we are a democracy. Let’s not forget that we got here by doing it on our own.

I was raised in foster care and managed to support myself through college and graduate school. I had as difficult a situation as one can imagine but I did it. So no excuses.

JM on

jessicad i would never generalise M’s view to reflect all american’s views, luckily i have met many americans in my life who believe in helping others and who even would like to nationalise health care (partly because they come over here and realise how much easier it is to be treated and seen by a doctor). M, what about health care? no one CHOOSES to be ill it can happen whether you’re rich or poor. i have suffered from asthma my whole life and guess what? i don’t pay a single penny for my inhalers. all free off the NHS. and when i hear of other people who get medical treatment off the NHS i don’t think ‘how irresponsible of them, they should take care of themselves’ i think ‘good, my taxes are being well spent’ (granted a little less well now that we have a conservative government, but then that’s conservative politics for you).

Tara H, as far as poverty goes you are the first person i have met who really thinks that it is always someone’s own fault if they are poor. wow! even if you want to believe that for adults that is true, what about kids? a 3 year old who lives in poverty in an inner city in america, is it his fault that he is poor? should he not receive any care and help? wow, i am glad i don’t live in your mind, it must be pretty resentful towards other people. i can’t imagine having so little compassion for our fellow human beings.

DR.R. thank you for a voice of sanity. doctors like you are the doctors i love, the ones who understand that to be a good doctor means that you shouldn’t pick and choose who deserves your care and medical attention. a good doctor helps people because that is their job, they do not judge people, they focus on the job that needs doing.

and one last thing M, you say it is as simple as everyone helping themselves? well unfortunately not all jobs are paid the same. does that mean we should all try to be business executives and CEOs? my mother has spent her life caring for other people, she is a social worker who looks after people with HIV and AIDS (luckily she doesn’t have your mentality of just leaving them to get one with it). but it is a job that doesn’t pay as well as a doctor’s, a surgeon’s, a lawyers’ etc job. but i guess it’s her fault for not choosing a job that is all about the capitalist dream isn’t it? if she ever needed help from the state for something we shouldn’t help her because it’s up to her to help herself right? let’s enrol her in business school quickly, and all those other social workers too while we’re at it and just leave their patients to fend for themselvse. seriously, what kind of simplistic world do you live in? i can’t believe that you were actually educated somewhere, you sound like you have never received a day of REAL education in your whole life.

Indira on

While I agree that people should not have children they can’t take care of, what you are essentially saying with that statement is that poor people should not have kids. Which to me sounds elitist and wrong. If that were to happen then only middle class and upper-class people would be able to have children. A response of oh they should save until they can afford a baby is impractical. Some people will never get into a higher socio-economic bracket, no matter how hard they try.

Tam on

Even though a full year of maternity leave sounds nice, I would be bored out of my mind if I didn’t work for that long! I think twelve PAID weeks of maternity leave would do just fine for me.

Noelle on

I think there is a big difference between accepting maternity leave (which every working mother has already paid for through various deductions) and not being able to pay for your own children. The thing that really strikes me as funny is how some people aren’t willing to pay taxes due to all the people who accept “hand outs” would be more than willing to accept those “hand outs” if they ever got sick, old or disabled (or otherwise unable to work). Well these people forget that when they need to accept these “hand outs” the babies that are born now, and whose mothers enjoy (paid) maternity leave, will be the ones paying for the “hand outs” in 20 yrs time. Think of it as an investment. Just imagine what would happen if people had less children due to the lack of government or company support. It would bankrupt just about every western country. Just like it would if women stopped working.

Janna on

Indira: Your response is curious to me, because you’re almost suggesting that poor people SHOULD have kids. This right here the problem. People saying “Waaaa… It’s human right to procreate! Noboday can tell me that I can’t have a baby!”

Okaaaaay, but how do they expect to feed them? Clothe them? Get them medical care? Do YOU think that it’s selfish to have a child you can’t afford to have? Would you really want to spend your days begging for handouts from the government in order to feed them?

I’m not sure that it’s “elitist” to expect people to live within their means. And if that means you don’t have a child because you can’t afford it, then don’t have a child. That’s really simple math, and honestly, quite selfish to have a child you can’t afford. You think a child wants to be raised in abject poverty? That’s not love, it’s narcissism.

(By the way, I disagree with just about every word that “M” wrote.)

A on

@M You say you wanna be a doctor? Then, my god, you will be the most selfish doctor out there. It seems to me that your only going through med school and residency to become a doctor for the money and the money only. You don’t wanna help the homeless and those less fortunate and you only wanna get paid for your services. Most doctors in the US provide unnecessary treatment anyways which leads to high healthcare costs. In this economy yes, it would be a good idea to go for a job with a higher pay but it doesnt sound like you should be working with people at all. I’m a nursing student and by the end of undergrad i’ll be over $250,000 in debt, lets not even go into my debt after grad school. And frankly, sometimes I even wonder if its worth it for a 70,000 RN salary, but at the end of the day, I’m working my ass off not for the money, but because I truly care about the people in america, and across the world. I WANT to help them. When I see a homeless person, no I don’t give them money because I don’t want them to spend it on drugs/alcohol – it wont benefit them. But will I go to dunkin donuts or mcdonalds and buy them a small meal, yes, yes I would, but if I was at the other end of the spectrum, I would highly appreciate it. and you’d be lying if you say you wouldn’t.

At the end of the day, yes a doctor’s salary is good and yes you’ll live a good life. But life isn’t perfect. Half the people in the world who are living month to month did not intend that for themselves and their families. Nobody CHOOSES to be homeless or have a low salary. One day, god forbid, you have a family emergency or disaster strikes, you too will be relying on the help of other doctors and people to help you out. Hun, money doesn’t get you everything. Just remember, karma’s a b*tch

jessicad on

Anyone could easily end up in a position where they need help from government, whether they have children or not, so I really don’t understand why people are so against it.

There are families 2 miles from my house who just lost everything from the tornado outbreak in the South, I’ve read blogs saying people with certain political views should not accept any help from FEMA or the government, or even from volunteers to help them clean. So sad how politics come into every situation.

Sydney on

M – I’m so glad that you will never be my doctor. Your attitude towards those less fortunate than you is disgraceful.

Have you ever stopped and thought how lucky you are to have been born into the lifestyle you were? You may work very hard to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you are so fortunate to be able to do that. If you were born into true poverty you would never have had the access to basic things like food, water, shelter, healthcare and education that have given you the opportunity to get to where you are now. Babies cannot choose where they are born or what the circumstances of the family are that they are born into. They deserve to be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. Life is a lottery, just be thankful you weren’t born in an Indian slum.

Also I think you meant Tea Partier. Tea bagger means something entirely different. Google it.

Mommyx2 on

I used to work for a company that had 6 weeks paid mat leave and they held your position for 1 year. You had the chance to bond with your child and still go back to work after a year. Not any more. I have never heard of another company doing that and I am sure I never will. The US, which I live in, needs to take some ideas from other places. Making a woman return so soon after giving birth can, and a lot of times does, make the “baby blues” hit harder. Unless you are a cold human being, and can live without your child. I know I couldn’t do it. My husband and I waited until I could stay home with our kids, not that we could have afforded day care with twins. Women are expected to heal fast from any birth and drop their baby off at some day care (letting someone else raise and bond with their baby), just to go back to work before they are ready. It honestly makes me sad that our country and the companies in it, don’t understand the most crucial part of a newborn’s, and a new mother’s, time together is that first 1-2 years. Sadly, it is a man’s world….

Tara H on

Don’t you dare say I lack compassion. Where were you brought up? Are you one of those limousine liberals? I am a product of the inner city and am WHITE. It is not a childs fault, however at about the time you reach the age of eleven you know right from wrong. I went to school, where I went through a metal detector everyday. I was one of 5 white children in an all black school. We had the exact same economic background, which consisted of public housing and welfare. Explain to me then why I was able to get a full scholarship to Harvard University. I graduated within 3 years, then was accepted at the Sorbonne for foreign affairs and then the London School of Economics. I spent 2 years in Darfur working In a refugee camp to the most poverty stricken community anyone would ever see. Yet even they had pride and were reluctant to accept any handouts. However here I am back I. The good old USA and dear old OBAMA and his ilk want to reinforce this cycle of entitlement. If you call someone handicapped and give them the tools to continue down this path of degradation, they will not feel a sense of urgency to pick themselves up. There is indeed such as thing as accountability. I do not blame anyone for their wealth. Nor do I think they owed anything to me because of my status in life. I went out and worked for it myself. I now earn over $350,000 a year in the private sector but I pay more than 92% of the taxes for other individuals in this
country. How is that fair? I started out with nothing but made a difference with my life. It’s not that hard if you really want to do it. So go spout your socialist agenda to someone who cares!

Tara H on

Some people will never get into a higher socio-economic bracket, no matter how hard they try.

That is true but being a product of the deeply flawed foster care system I can tell you that because of the welfare system, Many who cannot afford children have them regardless because of the socio economic benefits they receive from the government for having said offspring. You mean to tell me condoms are that expensive? Hell they are gi ing them out to eleven year olds in Philadelphia for Christ sake.

It’s simple math if you cannot feed yourself don’t have a child until you have the ability. Does not take a degree from Harvard to figure this out. The claim of a persons right to bear children goes out the window if you are unable to provide shelter, medical and noirishment for that child alone.

IgnorantM on

@M I’m sensing that you have not been out in the real working world.

Your ignorance is showing.

I feel sorry for your future patients.

Sandy on

I think we, as Americans, should look at our rates of post partum depression. We have the highest rates in the world and I absolutely believe that is directly related to how American women MUST “do it all” or they are considered worthless. When a woman has a baby, she needs time to bond, recover and just be a mother. Not only do American women have to do that in 2-12 weeks (I don’t know a single person who could afford the whole 12 weeks) but they have to do it alone because we don’t have the support system of mothers, grandmothers and sisters that women in other countries have.

I agree with Indira. No matter how hard you work in this country, it can be VERY difficult to pull yourself out of government assistance. I know, because I watched my mother struggle the whole time I was growing up. Now, sure, you could just say “poor people shouldn’t reproduce” but that, my friends, is called eugenics.

JM on

Tara H, well done for you. that’s what your asking for right? a pat on the back? it sure seems like you want some kind of recognition for having pulled yourself up by the bootstraps. because you managed to get into harvard, thus no one else who IS less fortunate than you (believe it or not you are very fortunate) should ever be helped?

like i said, you and i obviously have different levels of compassion. again, my husband and i earn very well (i won’t give you a run down of my CV and achievements because quite frankly that’s a little tacky), and yes that means i pay higher taxes. and like i said, i personally, am happy to do so if it helps people less fortunate than me and if it means i contribute to things like the NHS which i really believe in (even though the conservatives are trying to destroy it.)

i believe in helping people who work hard their whole lives but just happen to be a in a job that doesn’t pay as well, we need people to do those jobs too you know! we can’t all be the harvard graduates that go on to lucrative careers. now, if it were up to me we would redistribute wealth and everyone would earn the same amount of money. that would solve your problem of having to payer higher taxes than those people who earn less.
but that will never happen because people like you cling to your money and don’t believe that others should be helped.
to me, this IS a matter of compassion, no matter where you come from.

Ellen on

I am Norwegian, and as previously mentioned we can choose between 10 months with 100% salary og one year with 80% salary. For the first two weeks after the birth, both mom and dad are home. Dad have to take some of the time around 9 months, or else you lose it. I think it is a good thing and I think that children enjoy spending time with their parents at an early age. Also, you don´t need an insurance to get health care. Just show up at a hospital, and if there is something wrong with you, they fix you. No questions asked.

showbizmom on


No I think she meant tea bagger. It’s what us horrible liberal, socialist,communist ( because for whatever reason some on the right think they are all the same) that hate America and think President Obama is God, call them. I have actually heard them refer to themselves as tea baggers. It’s always good for a laugh.

Lets go love our children,and enjoy this mothers day weekend.
Happy Mothers Day to you all, even the ones I don’t agree with.

Toya L. on

I think there are valid points on both ends. I also think you should not have a child if you can’t afford to but circumstances sometimes change after the fact. There were people who made good income to support their child(ren) and because of the layoffs lost their jobs and savings diminished and couldn’t get jobs that paid equal too or more than the one they lost, there are people who were married and were able to be a stay at home parent and then that ended with a person losing their job, divorce, death etc…. There are people who were raped or birth control failed and chose not to have an abortion or give it up for adoption etc…. Not ALL people with children, needing help are lazy and purposely had children they couldn’t afford.

Indira on

Janna, that’s not what I’m saying. It is a confusing issue to me and, I don’t really have a stance. While I don’t think that people should have children they cannot afford; I question why having a baby has become so expensive in the first place. It also feels unconscionable for me to say “you make 20,000 dollars a year and cannot afford a child and therefore should not have one”. What if that person went to college and has a masters, did everything they could to get a higher paying job but, still can’t find one? I’m 22 and, that is what my generation is facing right now. I came across an article that said that some people who lost their job in the recession will never find full-time employment again!

@ tara- Instead of saying “too bad, so sad” to our nation’s poor, I think it would be much more to positive identify ways in which we could reduce our nations poverty. The fact is, the jobs that stabilized this country’s lower-middle class have been outsourced. There aren’t enough jobs to go around and, that’s why so many people are being subsidized by the gov’t. Wages for these jobs that haven’t been outsourced don’t come close to the cost of living. There are some people who abuse the welfare system but, I personally don’t see that as justification to get rid of it all together. If you are a product of public housing and welfare, how can you now shun the program that gave you a place to live and money to eat? Can’t you see how even more drastic your situation would have been without assistance? Also, if you worked in Darfur you should understand the humanistic responsibility we all in *theory* have for one another. If not for handouts those refugees in those camps would have starved to death or died from the lack of tents and clothing that were DONATED. I volunteered for an Egyptian group that continuously sends donations to camps in Darfur and Libya.

and SANDY- Thank you! I wasn’t sure if eugenics was too strong of a word but, that’s really what this conversation is making me think about.

Noelle on

Redistributing wealth and everyone earning the same amount of money was tried…. And it didn’t work out at all. It’s called communism and it’s why Russia went down the drain. There will always be people who are wealthier than other and parts of it is caused by people who have more chances than others or who do what ever it takes to get ahead and succeed. Not everyone has that drive. It’s not about how rich the rich are, but how poor the poor.

And how come this discussion went from maternity leave to welfare??? It’s not the same!!!!!

Tara H on


Redistribute wealth. GIVE ME A BREAK! So someone who works their ass off their entire life should be afforded the same lifestyle as one who expects handouts. No thank god you are right that will never happen in America because that is even too far left for our government. It’s called accountability. And yes I will toot my own horn because people like you believe that everyone who believes in self reliance was born with a silver spoon in our mouths. Well dearie, I and thousands of others, including many immigrants who come over, are tangible contradictions of that ignorant inference. Furthermore if one was born into a privilege life why should they have to be anything but pairing about that?

You prefer a system of equality because you fear honest competition. Stay in the UK or Canada because our system does not need you nor your bleeding heart ways. As for the NHS being a wonderful system, explain to me why it’s currently being investigated by the HAGUE courts. A trial system that only deals with international criminal fraud? What happened to about $209.4 million pounds that was apparantly earmarked for your so called re-distribution in the UK? interestingly enough the two managerial supervisors of the NHS seemingly have disappeared as well as the funds. Keep an eye out in your papers for this revelation.

Go give your FALSE mother Theresa act to someone who gives a damn. Off to go spend my “ill gotten millions now”. Cheers!

Heather on

Let’s get this straight. Canadians who have 1 year paid leave MUST PAY INTO THE SYSTEM IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE BENEFITS! It’s not a handout. We have to work a certain number of hours to be ELEGIBLE to receive the money. It’s not welfare. It’s not a handout. It’s OUR money to begin with. My husband and I make WELL over 6 figures a year, but the money given to me while on mat leave was necessary to support us and our children. That year home with my daughter was incredibly important. I can’t imagine putting my 6 week or 12 week old baby in the care of a stranger so I could go back to work just to be able to support her. To me that’s beyond sad, and I feel terrible for mothers who are put in that unfortunate position. Let’s understand something here… Just because you require your mat leave benefits does not mean you can’t afford to have children, and it does not mean that you don’t have money in the bank. What a disgusting generalization. That money is meant to support your family in a time where money is very important and very necessary, but so is the ability to be at home with your kids.

And M, I’m sorry but you disgust me. It’s people like you that paint the American public in a bad way. I hope you never get sick and can’t afford to pay your medical bills because you can’t work. I hope you never need social assistance. I hope you never run into hard times where you can’t afford to pay for your house or your lifestyle and you end up losing everything. Because then you’ll eat your words. I wouldn’t want to be a patient in your care, because you certainly come across as more concerned with your paycheck than with your patients.

SS on

I live in Europe, I’m pregnant and I work. And, strangely, I agree with M up to a point! The advatage of NOT having a social system in the US (and therefore your maternity leave is mostly unpaid) is the fact that YOU don’t have to pay (out of your pay check) every month for the needs of others! you have almnost all your money for yourselves (except for the taxes…) so that you can distribute your income the way YOU want it! an plan ahead for your childbirth.

B.J. on

“Do not give me the poverty is not their fault line.” – Tara H.

Oh my. This viewpoint is very disturbing. I love this quote by Helen Keller (a famous socialist.. and by the way, socialism is NOT a dirty word! Do you like your freeways and paved roads? Then stop your whining!):

“Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.”

Sadly, the U.S.A. just isn’t there yet. We’re too concerned with our own bank accounts than helping people who are truly in need. However, I DO think people should only have as many children as they can actually afford. I live near LA and daily see families with 4, 5, 6+ kids who are dirt poor. Pro-creating beyond your means is a sure-fire way to never escape poverty.

Still, if I had a baby and couldn’t stay home with it because my job wouldn’t allow me, I’d be heartbroken. Period.

fuzibuni on

I am by no means rich. I live in the united states and my husband and I are currently saving money to have a child. I want to stay home when I have a baby, but I have no intention of making other people pay for that. We will do it on our own by working hard and being financially prudent.

When citizens expect their government to take care of them and pay for life necessities there is a great risk of social collapse when the economy falters and can no longer support the populace. Look at what happened to Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Poland, and Mongolia… not to mention what is currently happening to many countries in Europe, particularly Greece.

People in the united states used to be very independent and self reliant. It’s what our country was founded on. Until recently, people were too proud to accept government money. It was considered embarrassing. But these days, it seems people feel morally entitled to other people’s money and we expect our government to act as the great equalizer.

Time will tell how this changing mentality fares for our country.

SS on

I would like to add that I live in a very poor country. However, our maternity leave looks like this: for your 1st and 2nd child you have the right to 1 year of leave, for the 3rd it’s 3 years! and for the first 6 months of a child’s life you are getting 100% of your income, and for the rest of the months it’s much smaller amount of money. however, listen to this, unemployed mothers also get money for their “maternity leave”, if we can call it like that. the amount that they get is about 1/3 of the average national monthly income. so, as you can imagine, many people in my country have kids only to get money for them.

Tara H on

You indeed make a good point about outsourcing, I do believe that is the cause for much of the unemployment in this country. I am also intrigued by your contention that I believe ALL poor people deserve ” what they get”. I certainly feel a large population of the inner city today do NOT want better for themselves, they have numerous programs to take part in yet enjoy playing the victim. Black, white whatever it’s equally divided across race lines. My point is EVERYONE has the power to change their lives. It’s called education. Many choose not to benefit from this most precious gift. I am a product of the public school system. Whilst it may be more difficult it is possible to make a life outside of blue collar or technical jobs- IF you choose. To perpetuate this victimization does nothing in the long run for the good of American or world economies.

I am all for helping those who USE it as a means to get back on your feet. I am deeply opposed to the notion that they use welfare as a way of life. Additionally wealth redistribution is historically flawed and as another commented stated is called COMMUNISM. Look how well that worked out.

Yes as far as Darfur. I did see what happens in a war torn country firsthand. Yet you are comparing apples with oranges. We cannot compare the misery of fearing for your life with a person in the richest world in America who has economic crutches as their way of life. I worked for UNICEF and Christian Brother charities. One of my jobs was to go to women in the inner city who had numerous children and try to counsel them by example that they are the only one’s who could change their lives. 95% of those women only met with me to get their checks. As soon as I left they were back to sitting on their asses. What amazed me is these homes that had holes in the wall, leaking ceilings, broken windows, had the most expensive electronics. They spend their money on NOT the necessities because they know next month a new check arrives. How is this helping them. There needs to be a cap and their laziness should not be on the backs of hardworking americans.

BJ. No comment your post was written in non sequitors. Not sure where you we’re going with that??

Finally maternity leave IS a different subject than welfare entirely, however I do not feel a woman should get a full year. Perhaps that is where part of the unemployment problem could be solved. I am a stay at home mom and very glad that I can be but I would NOT have expected anyone else to take care of my child and I should I not be in the same financial situation that I am.

M on

I find it amusing and quite peculiar that people are calling ME selfish when they are the ones who think its acceptable to take away a person’s money. YOU are the selfish ones. You think someone should give away their hard earned money to help less fortunate people. But why? No one has explained that yet. Its not my responsibility to help a stranger. Can you get that through your head? NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY. Not my children, not my family, not my problem. Why is this so difficult to comprehend? Its sad that there are children starving, and children dying of cancer who can not afford the treatment, but its not my fault they are suffering and its not my responsibility to help them. Perhaps if people stopped pro-creating like animals despite not being able to afford it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There aren’t enough jobs available, and the earth is quickly running out of natural resources, yet people insist on having children when they are perfectly aware of the fact that their children will be raised in poverty. THAT is selfish. As cruel as it may sound, if we stop all handouts to these individuals, it will deter them from having more children as they will be forced to face reality.

@ Dr. R

I doubt you’re a doctor when you can barely formulate a proper sentence without spelling and grammatical errors. Nice try.

Cassandra on

Wow, wow, wow! Reading these responses makes me want to stand up and proudly shout “I AM SO HAPPY TO BE A CANADIAN!”

@ M:

You are, of course, entitled to your own opinion about anything (taxes, negative feelings towards other citizens at their time of need, a sense of entitlement to respect and high income, etc.). What baffles me, however, is your sweeping ignorance regarding oppression and privilege. You are demanding respect because you have put in several years of post-secondary school and you will have a title of “MD” after your name? Why should anyone respect you more than the clerk at the grocery store, or the garbage collector? What makes you so innately worthy of respect anymore so than others? The fact that you may become a doctor is both frightening. You lack a basic understanding of the privilege you have had, in order to become a doctor, and the privilege you will have as a doctor. Ignorance of your privilege and how it has assisted in securing your place in society only continues to oppress those without your good fortune.

I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work and am employed by a hospital, working with survivors of sexual abuse. I work alongside doctors and nurses everyday, all of whom have more compassion in their pinky finger than you seem to demonstrate in your entire being. And for the record, Doctors in Ontario can easily earn $200,000 +, while RNs earn $85,000. Most would agree these incomes are commensurate with the education and knowledge required to carry out the duties of the job. The Canadian health care system may have its flaws, but I don’t believe that any developed nation’s healthcare is more flawed than America’s. Sure, you provide an extreme example of a 400 lb diabetic who requires healthcare at the expense of taxpayers in order to demonstrate those who sabotage their own health. What about the baby born prematurely and who requires 12 + weeks in the NICU? What has she done to not deserve medical intervention? What about the thousands of citizens struggling to refinance their homes so they can pay for their chemotherapy or radiation treatment? Should they have somehow avoided getting cancer since that wasn’t part of their financial plan?

A country that does not respect its citizens enough to financial care for their health and well-being is a country that I would never want to be a part of.

One last (SIGNIFICANT) point. Citizens in Canada pay into a fund for their entire working life, and when necessary, draw on this fund to cover things such as unemployment and parental leave. Let’s get things straight. The benefits that we receive are NOT A HANDOUT, nor is anyone getting rich while they are home caring for their infant. Parental benefits in Canada, which can be used by either parent, are paid for a period of up to 50 weeks. The basic benefit rate is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a yearly maximum insurable amount of $44,200. This means you can receive a maximum payment of $468 per week. Many companies “top-up”, and employees may receive 60-100% of their regular earnings for a period of their leave. The underlying message behind Canada’s maternity benefits — WE CARE ABOUT FAMILIES.

My heart hurts for our neighbours to the south, both because of their government’s neglect of social welfare, and because somewhere, some of you may end up being patients of M’s. Frightening, indeed!

JM on

Tara H and M i can only re-iterate what another poster said, that it is people like you who give america a bad name. poor literacy rates, child poverty, thousands dying because they can’t get health insurance, poor school system (as a teenager i went to an american school for a while, in every subject they were at least three years behind what i was doing in my school back at home, including in english which in the country that i am from is a foreign language, explain that one to me).

i am glad that most of the americans i have met and am friends with are caring, giving, selfless people who believe that things SHOULD change for the better. i can only hope that the backwards people in your society catch up quick, before even more children are er…. left behind.

on a side note, like i said, my mother has worked hard her whole life but has never earned a lot because she chose a life where she helped people less fortunate than herself. sure she has never been able to buy me all the things i wanted, but i would take someone like her as a mother ANY DAY over someone like you guys who would in their attitude set an example of selfishness and ignorance. i am proud that for my mum her money is not the be all and end all.

Erin on

Tara – with all sincerity and no mockery, I ask that you hit the books. You make a better case for your stances when you speak properly. And then I suggest that you spend all the free time you seem to have scouring books explaining the history of public welfare in this country. It wont take long, because the U.S. extends a very shallow and fragile social safety net to her people. We can argue the benefit of said net, but to act as though it’s a drain on our tax dollars exposes your, or anyone’s, ignorance. A much bigger problem is our military industrial complex. Conducting two wars for nearly a decade, passing Medicare Part B and a gifting a massive tax bill benefiting the tip-top income earners whilst paying for none of these has really hit you in the wallet. I’d be more outraged about that than anything else. (p.s. – do you get paid by someone every time you use the words “lazy” and “ass”?)

Cassandra on

I just wrote a lovely response, aimed mainly at M, and alas it didn’t go through properly.

Mainly, I wanted to raise M’s attention to the issues of privilege and oppression, two realities that M is obviously ignorant to.

Finally, I just want to shout ” I am happy to be Canadian”! Canadians often stand in the shadows of our American neighbours, but when understand the value of caring for one another. The year that I spent with my son was invaluable to both of us, and I gladly drew on my maternity benefits, which I have been paying into since I began working at 15 years old.

I have a Master’s degree, but unlike “M”, do not feel that this makes me any more worthy of respect than my fellow citizen with an elementary school education. Respect is earned, and not simply with the level of education, the status of your position, or the titles behind your name. “M” may soon have the educational requirements to become a doctor, but clearly lacks the compassion to be respected, or perhaps, even tolerated.

Tara H on


I will be sure to petition for sainthood for you and your “mum”

Btw the majority of Americans are against redistribution of wealth and national healthcare, thus the reason they do not pass. We have a system called democracy, majority voice wins. Enough said.

A on

Reading all this makes me realize how good we have it in Canada. We do not take handouts and definitely pay for what we receive. I just wonder… if the US didn’t waste so much money on funding wars. they may actually have a little more money to spend keeping it’s own citizens healthy and happy.

A on

So glad to be Canadian. We definitely don’t receive handouts and pay very high taxes. I just wonder… if the US didn’t spend so much money on funding wars, they may gave a bit more money to spend keeping their own citizens healthy and happy.

Amanda Johnson on


Per your comment: ‘I am a disabled student and if I lived in the USA I would be homeless.’ I am also a disabled student and that is not a true statement. There are programs (most notably, social security disability) available in the U.S.


Tara H on


Your weakly veiled attempt at insulting one’s intelligence is the height of hypocrisy. EVERYTHING you have stated has been a plagiarized regurgitation of the daily propaganda spewed on Fresh Aire on NPR. Sadly due to cuts in their funding you will soon be forced to steal from another genre.

Please refrain from making a further fool of yourself in future posts. Good luck.

M on

Redistributing the wealth is absolute garbage. That sounds like communism to me where everyone is equal. Face it, we are not equal! The harder you work, the more you deserve. Don’t tell me that a janitor who never even wanted to go to college or finish high school deserves the same lifestyle as I do.

Why is it so difficult for you people to understand that I work hard and do not want to give even a penny away? What problem do you have with that? It is my money. If you are such compassionate people, how about you give all of your money away and stop calling me selfish? I don’t know what doctors any of you are talking about. I know many doctors, and all of them share my views politically. They believe in a small government with minimum handouts. If you look at any wealthy neighborhood, the statistics speak for themselves; the majority of residents in those neighborhoods are republicans. For what reason, do you think? Any of them will tell you they are fiscal conservatives who are against high taxes. Are you REALLY meaning to tell me that the majority of rich people who worked hard for their money are selfish people with no compassion? REALLY? Give me a break. As I’ve stated before and will say again, it is the ones who believe in handouts that are selfish due to the fact that they expect rich people to give away a large percent of their income to taxes to help the poor. THAT IS SELFISH!

How can you even justify taking away an individuals hard earned money and giving it to someone else without their consent? Its irrelevant whether an individual makes $100,000/year or $100,000,000/year, no matter how you want to twist the truth, the money is still theirs and it is unjust to take it away from them regardless if they are filthy rich and have money to spare. The point is, IT IS THEIR MONEY AND IF THEY DO NOT WANT TO SPARE IT, IT DOES NOT MAKE THEM SELFISH BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT! My god, the liberals on this site are out of control.

Contrary to what some commenters have said about me, I was not privileged growing up. My parents are both doctors, but they received their educations in Europe. When they came to America, they were unable to pass the board exams because they were not fluent in english at the time. They had to work several minimum wage jobs while I was growing up to support me and I was definitely not raised in luxury. A few years later, my parents took the board exams again and were able to pass this time around, but it took another 4 years for my mom and 5 years for my dad until they were accepted into residency programs because they needed recommendations from medical school, and my parents did not have access to any recommendation since they attended medical school in Europe and it had been years since they graduated. The only way they were able to get recommendations was by “shadowing” doctors in the hospital. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that my parents finished their residencies and were on their own as doctors making full salaries. So no, I was not raised in luxury. Don’t call me privileged.

Just to add: My parents are both fiscally conservative, and all of their doctor friends and acquaintances are as well, and all of them were angry when Obama’s health care plan passed. That doesn’t make them bad doctors or bad people. Most of my neighbors are also conservative, and I live in an expensive neighborhood with a lot of doctors, lawyers, business executives, etc. Most rich or higher middle class people are conservative because they know what its like to work hard and they don’t want their hard earned money taken away from them. Its easy to call them selfish when you don’t know what its like to sacrifice so much of your time to get an education and then be burdened by all the stresses that come with your job. Of course its just easier to ask for handouts, right?

Alice on

I am divided… I do think (paid) maternity leave is the best system, because if you think about it, it’s unfair that if you’re a competent, hard working person you should have to lose your job and start all over again because you need time off to care for your child. It’s sexist as well, women would be discriminated against basically for being women, since men can have children freely without consequences on their careers. Plus you have already paid for it through taxes, so it does not mean you can’t afford your child. That is another issue entirely.

However I do feel annoyed at how too much help ends up removing people’s responsibility about their actions. They engage in careless behaviour and then everybody has to pay for the consequences. I agree with supporting those who were born less fortunate, and no one is above needing (expensive) medical care someday either, that’s for sure. But I do wish there was some kind of assessment of the person knowingly exposing themselves to a situation of need. For example in this debate’s topic, it’s not right to have kids you can’t afford and expect other people to continually pay for them, just imagine: the responsible people who want to be able to fully support their children might actually be postponing having said kids for YEARS because they are paying for others’ instead of saving for theirs. They are punished for doing the right thing, it’s completely backwards.
It’s the same with many other risky behaviours. I know it might sound insensitive, but I am *careful* about not doing these things. I make efforts. And then I still have to bear the consequences of their carelessness, childishness or stupidity. It’s disheartening.

Tara H on


Stop trying to convince them. The majority voice is on your side. A victim will remain a victim as long as they have an “excuse” to fail.

Tara H on

@Tara H
Re: Erin

How funny I was thinking the exact same thing. I could almost hear Terry Gross reciting this same rant last week. How original!

Erin on

Tara – I wasn’t trying to insult your intelligence. I was trying to get you to sharpen your persuasive skills, honestly. Because you’re not going to move the needle calling people “lazy asses”. I appreciate that you have your point of view, but I’m confused/sad that you take a miniscule portion of the spending pie (no matter how wasteful) and use it to demonize people. It’s very easy to do, it’s harder to say – gee, let’s tackle the real problems. So we get nowhere, and insult people it is easy to make fun of, marginalize and make scapegoats of. Hopefully if we ever come across each other on this blog again, it’ll be because it’s we’re both commenting on how cute so-and-so is. That would be nice, right? Goodnight and have a wonderful day tomorrow.

M – I’m an attorney. I am a liberal. I put myself through school as did my sisters, who all got professional degrees. I don’t want a hand out, but the hand up (school loans) were greatly appreciated – and repaid. I HOPE to pay more taxes soon. Because I’m getting away with (tax) murder compared to my assistant at the office. That’s the truth.

Erica on

I won’t get into the politics debate but I 100% agree with everyone here who has said that people should NOT have children they can’t afford. Having a child is a privilege and a choice, NOT a right, and frankly it disgusts me when people who know full well they can’t afford a child procreate anyway. I love kids and can’t wait to be a mom – but until I’m financially capable of providing for a child without expecting anyone else to pick up my slack, I’m not getting pregnant! It’s true that people cannot help being born into poverty but they CAN choose not to continue the cycle by getting an education, getting a job and THEN starting a family.

krys on

i have read every single comment here. call me naive, but why did this informative and helpful article have to turn into a my country is better then your country? i live in michigan so i have heard both sides of the coin. if every mom could be honest, i am sure you would say that yes spending more then 6 weeks with your newborn would have been amazing. do i personally believe that longer maternity leave would benefit both mother and baby? yes i do. am i well aware of the economic trouble facing everyone in america today? damn straight i am. i saw that a few people used the “if you don’t have the money, don’t have the baby.” but i can’t help but think of the couples who have been trying for years. i’d like to hope their first thought when they got the positive pregnancy test results was joy not how will we manage while you’re on maternity leave.

if everyone looks at the other prospective i can promise it’s not really better one way or the other. the countries with longer maternity leaves pay massive amounts in taxes every year. far more then we in america pay. likewise, when american women were awarded the mandatory 6 week paid leave (see 1993 family and medical act) it was considered a huge victory. unfortunately, the american maternity system has far more pressing concerns then the amount of leave women get.

being a great mother doesn’t just depend on how much leave you get. no matter what country you call home, you as a mother are doing your best and what’s best for your child. that is enough in my book. every mother here is her own worst critic and there is not a day that goes by she doesn’t question every single choice she is making. everyone here is a woman,a daughter, a wife,a sister, and mother. let’s all start acting like the intelligent, educated women we are

Jillian on

Kate, not true at all. There are many disabled people who are not homeless, me being one of them.

If you are poor, don’t have a child. If you can’t afford birth control, don’t have sex, you won’t die without it. Do I feel bad for people who are poor, yes. Do I feel bad for them when they are poor and then have a child, NO! I feel bad for the child and am pissed off at them. Do I feel bad for people who are not poor, have a child, have a financial crisis and end up poor..yes. Big difference. My nephews parents refuse to get jobs where they have to pay taxes or health insurance for their children. They get cash paying jobs……their kids have better health cere then many I know. The kids deserve it but the parents piss me off.

Molly on

Actually Tara H., the majority is against what you and M believe. Sorry to tell you but it’s 2011 an people are sick of ignorant people acting like helping others is a horrible thing. I would suggest you two leaving US but other countries have paid maternity leave and some even have paid paternity leave. Another shocking fact, in some countries people have healthcare paid for by the government and they live longer than Americans

JM on

from Tara H.: “I will be sure to petition for sainthood for you and your “mum””

really tells you everything you need to know doesn’t it folks? she is obviously just a selfish person, nothing to be done about that. (also one who apparently doesn’t understand that in the uk we do indeed spell it ‘mum’ hence her putting quotation marks around it, i would agree educate yourself a little, maybe you and M can go and study ‘Europe’ together 😀 )

i always love the ‘well the majority thinks it’s right so it must be right. because when the majority believes something it is never wrong is it? (would that be the same ‘majority’ that voted obama with his evil socialism into the white house then?)

i stand by what i said, some people lack compassion and understanding for others and only see two extremes. ‘i earned all my money through hard work and anyone who doesn’t have as much as money as me is just lazy and therefore doesn’t deserve it’. what about people who do work hard every day and don’t have money? they don’t exist in your world?
like i said, for some people the concept of helping others and being kind to those less fortunate is hard. i had so far never come across anyone as extreme as Tara and M but i guess there are all kinds of people in this world, sad really. i hope if you two are ever in a desperate situation where you need help that you encounter people kinder than yourselves. i wouldn’t wish you two on anyone.

Berit on

in Estonia maternity leave is 3 years and every month mothers who worked before getting pregnant receive 80 per cent of the money they would have earned with their job…so life is beautiful:):)

Elizabeth on

M – “it is the ones who believe in handouts that are selfish due to the fact that they expect rich people to give away a large percent of their income to taxes to help the poor. THAT IS SELFISH!”

You’re just winding us up now, aren’t you? People wanting others to help the poor is selfish?

You do appear to have led a very sheltered life and seem to have developed a severe superiority complex. You are not better than everybody else just because you are going to be a doctor and earn a lot of money. I feel sorry for you as it appears that money and material possessions are going to be what define your life, when that’s not really what life’s about at all. People are remembered by the impact that they have on others, by what they contribute to society, not by how much money they have in the bank and how big their house is.

Georgina on

Wow, this sure is an intense blog! Makes me want to go back to the blongs where we were debating whether a specific child was cute or not. At least there was less hostility!

Id also like to point out Europe is a continent, consisting of numerous counteries, all of which have their own government and their own healthcare provisions. Saying “its like this in Europe” is ridiculous, because each place is different.

Also the fact that two people who spear-headed an overhaul of the NHS are being investigated by a body in the EU is demonstrative of our legal system and not really anything to do with our taxes nor maternity. Like you say tons of money has gone “amiss” and instead of the gov investigating, someone independent is. Im not offended someone is looking into it, and their previous investigations, I feel, only highlight their expertise.

Finally, compared to the UK americans get paid less, their hourly rate is less, their annual income is less. (Granted their exepnses like housing and food costs are less too). In England our standard tax band is 22%. If you earn over £40 something thousand pounds a year, it increases to 40%, but that 40% only applies to everything after the threashold. Im astonished anyone has to pay 92% tax or even 31%, is that correct? Because that would indicate americans are paying more tax than the UK yet not seeing any of the benefits. That I find odd.

Finally you can have socialist policies without being a socialist country, in England weve had maternity provisions and the NHS yet London is considered the financial capital of the world. That would indicate capitalism too. I think quite a few people feel that you can only be confinded to one box, and the truth is you dont! Questioning the provisions and policies put in place is also not unpatriotic, neither is distribution of power. Why should the rich companies be the ones to decide whether you can have maternity leave or not, when your 3,5,10 years of hard work contributed to some of their wealth and expansion. Legislation in something so common as this makes the system fairer, its not intended to penalise the hardworker, quite the opposite.

Walfare or benefits and having a baby simply for the state benefits is something completely different!

Tara H on

Re: tara h the majority are against what you believe.

Where do you get your statistics. If nationalized systems were what people wanted they would have been passed decades ago.

I think perhaps you are the ignorant one here,

You try to sound so agreeable but you hide behind a weak knee policy and really have not much room to stand on.

@JM you are a condescending idiot, and if you read tara h post she has lived in Europe, Asia and Africa and has been educated there so I think she knows where she is coming from. I think she knows you call “mum” for our mom and she was being sarcastic.

Now off to enjoy my day with my beautiful kids in my amazing home that I worked hard to get.

zappo on

I hope that if you graduate medical school and become a doctor who works with patients, you develop a sense of compassion. All I can see in your posts is money, money, money, which seems to be an obsession. There is more to life than money. Compassion can’t be taught to you. You either have it or you don’t. If The way you speak on this forum is how you intend to speak with patients, you should be a research doctor in a lab, otherwise I hope your future practice is full of the people you so adore, with lots of money and health insurance. I can see you will never be the kind of doctor who wants to give their all for the sake of a healthier humanity and a better world. Lots of those doctors actually volunteer ( I know, gasp!) because having the knowledge to help the disenfranchised is a special gift. Oh, and btw, you shouldn’t speak for “most middle class and rich people” and how they feel fiscally. We are in the upper middle class category, and I am the opposite completely, so please don’t feel you need to speak for anyone other than yourself. I hope as you go through life, you open your eyes to all that is in the world that is different than what you are used to, because there is alot of ugliness we should all be aware of.

KRS on

Is it possible that some people commenting here are STILL under the impression that my maternity leave benefits somehow came out of THEIR pockets or tax dollars? Or even my employer’s for that matter? WRONG. It came out of a fund that I starting contributing to the minute I got my first part-time job at age 14, the same fund that all working Canadians contribute to. Calling that a handout is totally ignorant. How did a discussion on maternity benefits get turned into the whole health care/welfare debate? Apples and oranges, people. I think the real problem is wasteful government spending, no matter what country one’s from.

zappo on

I was just re-reading some of M’s commentary, and
“Why should I care about other people?” stood out.
Well, you are not required to feel or do anything. GOOD doctors care about other people. Wow. That’s really all I can say about that. I also think you would do really do much better in politics, M, instead of a field that is based on compassion.

SS on

thank you for pointing out that Europe is a continent. we really had no idea. just one thing: all the EU countries (including those that are about to be accepted) have to need to get their legislation “in ballance” with other EU countries, so yes, we can speak about european countries having more or less similar legislation (and the question of laws concerning maternity/paternity leave was recently raised).

Alison on

Tara H you do realize that when you start trying to change your name/talk to yourself it completely invalidates any point you may have made?

M on

To this point, no one has addressed anything I actually said. It really invalidates your argument when all you do is call me selfish and tell me I lack compassion. Why can’t you answer simple questions? Since many of you seem to lack reading comprehension, or you are intentionally ignoring what I say, let me make it more simple: Why can someone take away an individual’s money without their consent?

THERE! Can’t get any simpler, can it?

If all of you are so compassionate, how about you give away 50-75% of your income to taxes and leave the people who don’t want to alone?

I don’t care about strangers. You can pretend to be holier than thou and claim you care about the world, but its just an act. There’s NO way you can possibly care about everybody suffering in this world. When I heart about sad cases, does it affect me? Yes, it does. I’ve shed many tears hearing depressing stories about poverty. However, is it my business or responsibility to help these people? NO!

We all have priorities, and helping the poor is not one of mine. Helping myself and my family and friends comes first. Helping the poor won’t help anyone out in the long term anyway. If people are so stupid to continue procreating and asking for handouts, the vicious cycle will continue on and on and no amount of money can fix it.

No, I am not in the minority with my beliefs. Last time I checked, Obama’s ratings are at an all time low and the majority of Americans want him to lower the budget . I’m not the only one who thinks the taxes are too high. Solely because the majority of women on this site are brainwashed liberals does not mean all of America is the same way. This site does in no way reflect real life.

As I’ve mentioned before, if the majority of americans wanted a more socialized government, it would’ve happened ages ago.

Also, to the individuals claiming to know doctors, BULL SHIT! I know more doctors than all of you combined. My parents are doctors, most of their friends are doctors, many of my neighbors are doctors, and last but not least, I am in medical school and meet new doctors on a daily basis! Trust me, most doctors are just like me. NO doctor would allow a person without medical insurance or without money to make an appointment, unless that person has medi-cal. No matter how compassionate a doctor is, they will not work for free. Sure, some doctors volunteer, but very few of them. I volunteered in a free clinic before applying to medical school, and ALL of the doctor volunteers I met were retired and over 70 years old. Of course they enjoy helping people, but most importantly, its a way for them to stay active and social.

Also, let me just reemphasize that the majority of rich people are republicans. I live in a nice neighborhood where the median income is $205,000 and 68% of the residents in my area are registered republicans, 21% independent, and the remaining are democrats. Are you really meaning to tell me that the majority of rich people are selfish and lack compassion? If so, you’re a complete moron!

Look up the statistics of any neighborhood, and you’ll see that the nicer and more expensive the neighborhood is, the more republicans you’ll find. I seriously find i astounding that anybody would make such claims about people they do not know. I mean, how dare you call me (and most other wealthy people) selfish and compassionless when you don’t know me. SORRY for wanting to live in a beautiful, crime free neighborhood and wanting to wear nice clothes, have nice furniture, drive a nice car, and want to take a few vacations per year. Does that really make me selfish? You’re all full of shit. Everybody wants to be rich! If you say you don’t, you’re a liar.

Cassandra on

@ M:

Thanks for addressing the issue of privilege, however you seem to misunderstand it’s meaning. Privilege, in the context of these conversations, is not strictly referring to growing up weathly (which, by the way, is a very relative term). Privilege can refer to things such as race, class, education, gender, age, sexual preference. The fact that both of your parents are doctors absolutely makes you privileged. Didn’t your parents, with their education and professional backgrounds, impress upon you values of attaining a higher education. Also, given their incomes as doctors, I’m sure that your parents would have been in a position to support you financially through some of your studies. This is privilege. It is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but it is something that must be recognized before you or anyone else begins to make sweeping statements about how or why others are in the vulnerable situations in terms of their health, wealth and social status.

The ideals that you speak about would have no regard for immigrant parents who were struggling to learn the language of a new country and attempting to establish their careers. Your elitist mentality and skewed sense of entitlement is astonishing. Perhaps you should investigate moving to a country that still shares you strict classism views? You would garner the respect that you’re after, and not have to demonstrate any of the concern or compassion of a doctor. It seems to be up your alley!?

Georgina on

Dear SS, no you cant talk about all European countries as being similar because a)not all the countries on the continent of Europe are in the European Union, nor are all EU memeber connect via land mass. Which would you be referring to when you say Europe exactly?

Similarly, just because there is a legislative basis for countries to have, it doesnt make all of their healthcare nor employment systems or provisions the same. So it is incorrect to say they do this in Europe because France do things differently to Germany who do things differently to Poland. Even Scotland and England have different systems.

JM on

thank you Georgina. i can’t believe that some people really talk about Europe (or even the EU) as if it were one country. as you rightly pointed out there are even considerable differences between Scotland and England and they’re in the same country.

i have lived in several European countries and there really are many SIGNIFICANT differences. obviously culturally but also in legislative terms.

M, btw i would never say that the majority of rich people are selfish and lack compassion. i imagine my husband and i would probably call into your category of rich people. i would only say people who hold the views that you seem to hold are selfish and lack compassion. i’m not american so i don’t care if they’re republican, democrat or jedi for that matter, if they say the things you have said then i would call them selfish and without compassion and understanding for their fellow human beings.

Georgina on

Sorry that should read, and not all EU members are connected via land mass. Typing on a phone is hard!!

M on


“The ideals that you speak about would have no regard for immigrant parents who were struggling to learn the language of a new country and attempting to establish their careers. ”

My parents never asked for handouts, so I don’t know what you’re talking about. They worked hard and have never received government assistance. They came from a socialist country and wanted to come to America to make more money!

Don’t you dare tell me to leave the country when this country was founded on capitalist principles. Perhaps YOU should consider leaving the country and moving to Sweden or France–true socialist countries. Taxes, as I said before, were only meant to be temporary to fund the civil war. They are illegal and unconstitutional. I don’t exactly mind income taxes because obviously I know that we need to fund certain social services (i.e. police, fire department, etc), but the taxes are far too high right now. The federal income tax rate is 25.5% and the state income tax rate for California (where I live) is 6%. That’s 31% in total not counting property and sales tax!

My parents paid $26,000 on their house last year in property taxes. How is that fair?

The income tax rate should be no higher than 10%, and even that is too high. We should also get rid of property tax. Property taxes are completely unjust. This means that nobody actually owns property. If you finish paying off your mortgage, you are still at risk of losing your home if you can not afford the property tax. Several retired couples have had their homes foreclosed because they could not keep up the property tax payments. How is it acceptable that an old couple that worked hard their whole lives and paid off their mortgage can have their home taken away from them?!!

I’m not an elitist at all, I’m a realist. All you holier than thou individuals think everybody on this planet is equal and deserves equal opportunities. That is NOT possible! Do you really think the welfare given to poor people is actually helping them? No! They will solely continue to breed and their children will grow up poor and uneducated and they will continue the vicious cycle. Its not a long term solution. So you can pretend to be so charitable and compassionate, but you are all ignorant and spewing bullshit.

Bottom line: MY MONEY IS MY MONEY! If you want money, go work for it. If you want to help poor people, give YOUR money away and leave mine alone!

Apparently some of you are too stupid to understand this simple concept.

NC on

I just want to say that I found this thread of commenting quite entertaining.

Thankfully I live in Canada. Even though my husband and I would be considered “upper middle class” I am grateful for my maternity benefits and my year leave. He owns a successful business, while working for another company in addition to our savings and I wouldn’t dream of giving up the money I paid to the government for that purpose. I am cherishing this time with my daughter and I am glad I get to teach her and watch her grow in this very important time in her life.

M, Tara H you do realize this is people online not CNN. Also M how is it that you have all this time to comment if you are currently in medical school?

Happy Mother’s day!

M on


You can call me selfish and compassionless all you want, but you have yet to address my main question:

Why do you think its acceptable to take an individual’s money without their consent? Why?!!

It doesn’t matter if someone has 5 million dollars or 5 billion dollars, the truth is that it is THEIR money. Why do you think you can take it away?

Um, actually you ARE implying that all republicans are selfish if you insult my ideologies. Do you know what fiscal conservatism is? Do you realize that republicans want a small government with minimal taxes (which is not how America currently is)? You just insulted a large group of people you do not know, good job you ignorant fraud. Pretend to be holier than thou all you want, but the truth is you don’t care about anyone, you just want to come across as charitable and nice.

Since you claim to be rich, how about you give away 90% of your salary away to taxes and charity and only keep enough to survive? If YOU want to give your money away, that’s fine, good for you, but leave MY money alone! Why is this so difficult for you and others to comprehend????? Seriously, why??? Answer this question please!

zappo on

I did not want to address your questions, therefore I did not. I was so struck by your judgemental anger towards the poor so that is what gripped me and I felt compelled to comment on. I understand the avenue you want to take in this forum, and just because that is not what I want to comment on doen’t mean I don’t understand your questions.I comprehend them. I don’t think anyone else in any posts said they were “holier than thou,” you decided to say that. After reading your last two posts, again, I am still horrified by your anger and incessant ranting about taxes. I don’t wish to garner positive response from you, as I realize I fall into the category you have decided is “stupid.” I really do feel bad for you, and hope you get to experience more in life. The manner in which you write indicates someone who is very young, protected, and immature. I wish you well in your studies and hope you live the life you have planned out, free of unsavory people who want to steal “your money.”

zappo on

Oh, and if it makes you feel any better to have anyone else address a portion of your rant, I will let you know that we paid 1/3 of our salaries in taxes. We have been lucky enough to work our way up in life. I never said I am going to give away 75% of our salary. Road repair, emergency services, and public schools all get paid from our taxes. I have no kids. Does it bother me that the taxes goes to help children that are not mine? Not at all. We are lucky enough to have the salaries, cars, and home that we have. Could care less about your stats on Obama’s approval rating. Those who like him will still like him and those who hate him will still hate. I seek not to change opinions on the President. I also have never been on welfare or used social services, but it makes me feel good to know that the services are there to help those when they are in a position unable to help themselves. Helping people in the world when they cannot help themselves makes the world a better place for all human beings. I do feel that all human beings deserve to be treated equally. That is just what I happen to believe, so you can rip me to shreds if you wish, but it is my belief.

Holiday on

M if you have that type of attitude I can not see you having any patients as a doctor. Are you going to refuse service to the people on meidcare and medicaid or just treat them like shit? If you want to be rich but you do not care about people a doctor is not a good job for you. You need to have compassion, empathy and sympathy to be a good doctor. I shudder to think of what it would be like if you were my children’s doctor. It truly is sad to think you could give a crap about people, and that you are only planning on being a doctor for the money. You should seriously reconsider your career plans and find a job where people are not going to put their lives in your hands when you could really give 2 shits about them.

Georgina on

M, I dont know the ins and outs of the tax system in America, but from what your saying it seems as though your paying more tax that what you deem a socialist country, so perhaps its not the taxes you are paying that you should be annoyed about but the way in which they are being spent. From you info you seem to be paying out a lot and not recieving anything in return.

Additionally, you say you live in a democracy, and if you dont like whatever, then you should voice your concerns at polling day, but doesnt that apply to you also. Taxes have obviously being voted for, so you infact are in the minority by your own logic.

And the answer to your main question is you are giving your consent by living in the country. Simple as.

And I dont believe anyone else mentioned Republicians except for you.

The point is taxes are a fact of life. We all have to pay them. If they are redistributed in an efficent way, the fact that they were collected is prosperous for the individual as well as the country. Why should it be ok for a company to sack a woman just because she is pregnant, AND just because there are 10 other people who can fill the job. Dont you think the “little person” deserves some protection. Particualry when that child is going to apart of the work force when you and I are old. No one is saying we should pay for the child until they are 18 or whatever, but a system which spreads the financial burden of a baby form your own income, isnt a handout, and provides for the future.

Cassandra on

M, you wonder why people won’t answer your simple questions. I’ll take a stab at it and say that it’s because your questions are so simplistic but neglect so many of the bigger issues that YOU keep avoiding.

In keeping with your simplistic views, here is my response:

Unlike some of the other posters, I will not be nice and wish you well in your career. I think we all already know that you will be a pitiful doctor (which you seem not to care about), however your bank account may be well padded.No, unlike the other posters, I wish you a future that you wish for yourself. I hope that your country (which, luckily, is not mine) adopts your values and does away with taxes. I hope that all of the programs that taxes currently fund are abolished. I hope that you are smacked with a malpractice suit that renders you unemployable and broke due to legal fees. Without the ability to continue to buy private health insurance, I hope that you contract a debilitating medical condition which requires lengthy and costly treatment, for which you can no longer afford. I hope that your house burns to the ground because you cannot afford the cost of private firefighting service. I hope that your future children (which, responsibly, you bore prior to your theoretical “fall from grace”) remain uneducated because you cannot afford to send them to private schooling and public school no longer exists. I hope that, in your hour of greatest need, you are shunned and looked down upon by others like the “current” you.

Clearly, in this scenario, you have caused your own troubles, and are not deserving of any public services or assistance. You are banished to a life where you must “pull yourself by your bootstraps”, except the straps are shredded, along with the taxes that previously funded all the programs that benefited people in your unfortunate situation. This is what I sincerely wish for you. Until you are able to imagine what your life would be without your previous and current privilege, you will have no concept of the compassion that others speak of, and most importantly, why it is so necessary.

mary on

M I did in fact address your concerns earlier. OUR taxes go for services you use EVERYDAY! From police, fire, public schools, DPW, courts, judges and prosecutors ect. And with all of those there are behind the scenes you don’t even get to see…. The clerks, 911 services, maintenance crew that work on the fire trucks, police cars, street lighting, I can go on and on. How the hell do you think they get paid? Like I said before perhaps you need to talk to your local police and fire depts. or walk into a VA hospital. I have and its sad they are all over worked and not paid. Those doctors and nurses at the VA they get paid shit. But they do it because they have a calling to help others in need. And how do I know this…. My father was a doctor my mother worked in neurology. (in fact she opened the first AIDS clinic in my town!) they built their lives in helping people. Yes we had money but you would have never known. It was my parents money NOT ours. And they gave it all away…..by helping others…..in the inner city!

My parents did not become doctors because they wanted to be rich. My father was a WWII Pearl Harbor survivor. After seeing his follow friends die he wanted to make a difference and let me tell you he did.

Remember it takes a village to raise a child! And it’s all about money, that’s only part of it, compassion, encouragement and guidance falls into that category too.
We pay taxes for a reason!

Molly on

Zappo, you’re a great person unlike the ones who are too selfish to help others. I agree with your comments. We can’t predict that future. Nothing is guaranteed.

noam on

@m: you have repeatedly asked why you should pay taxes that pay for things you say you do not use or need. first of all, i can assure you that you are using tax-funded services every single day. roads, parks, libraries, fire departments, police departments, and even ems services that bring patients to the hospital you work (or will work) at are all funded by tax dollars. for the other services–medicare, social security, public housing, etc., i can only hope you never find yourself in the situation where you need them, BUT YOU JUST NEVER KNOW. when you graduate medical school, you may find that the job you get doesn’t pay a salary that covers everything (my stepbrother graduated med school and is now working at a salary of $65,000 a year. it’s nothing to sneeze at, but the idea that all doctors make six figures is not true.) or maybe, hopefully, you do find that well-paying job, but maybe you lose it. perhaps you find yourself in a malpractice suit (they happen to even the best of doctors) that knocks you out of work for awhile, or maybe you’re in an accident. maybe you or your child becomes sick, with something like cancer, a disease that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. (my nephew, aged five, passed away from leukemia three years after being diagnosed. his treatment totaled more than a million and a half dollars.) you can cushion your life all you want, but you can’t protect yourself from everything. and that’s why we pay taxes–because the line between them and us is often thin and always invisible.

am i suggesting that it’s fair for one mother to have ten children by ten fathers and not work? no. but am i suggesting that is the normal profile of someone who gets government assistance? no.

but look at the requirements to receive snap funding: in addition to financial need, there is also a physical test (amongst other things, a drug test for everyone over 18), a time limit (you cannot use snap for more than twelve consecutive months, and you must take at least a six month break between uses; second approval is not a given), and an employment program, in which you have to prove monthly you are actively seeking a job and you must be enrolled in various classes (both work and family related). furthermore, there are 45 million people getting food aid in america. they cannot all be lazy, unmotivated, and ne’er-do-gooders. the majority are children.

i will end this by saying i do not totally disagree with all of your sentiments. many, i respectfully disagree with (though i can understand how you came to them), but i will tell you, for future reference, you come off a bit angry, rendering any thoughtful argument lost.

noam on

@m: also, i’m pretty sure that california’s income tax is 9.55% for anyone making over 62,000. it’s a lower rate for lower salaries. that’s high, but it could be worse. i live in indiana, where we have flat rates, meaning someone making 20,000 pays a 3.4% tax, just like someone making 2,000,000. if you really disagree with the state income taxes (which you seem to be wildly against), alaska, florida, nevada, south dakota, texas, washington, and wyoming don’t have a state income tax. you’d probably like to avoid hawaii and oregon, which both have an 11% rate.

Jillian on

M, I really have enjoyed a good laugh. Thanks. I know many rich people. And these many rich people……are not democrats. In my area, my friends, family, etc…..all democrats….all upper class and we all average more per year than your area. I am not sure of the point and don’t care because anyone who tries to get their point across by name calling deserves no respect. That’s how I was raised and how I raised my daughter. I hope you don’t become a doctor bc patients need someone who is respectful to take care of them….and the way you speak on here is disgusting and unprofessional. I actually agree with several of your points BUT not your delivery. Remember, you know nothing about each of us and who we are and whet we do to say you know more than we do, just is….well, it makes you look quite silly. If you are that angry about this country…..leave or try to do something about the things that bother you. But name calling and insulting the people who are trying to have a debate with you? Well, certainly doesn’t make you look like any doctor I would pay to go see!!

Lisa on

M sounds exactly like the kind of ignorant American that people in our country are always making fun of. I think that in countries with good maternity benefits that women are more likely to stick with a career and contribute if they are given a reasonable amount of time at home with their child first. I think so many American women just ‘give up’ on working because the thought of sending a 6 week old child to daycare is heartbreaking.

My daughter, like a lot of babies, had colic. Colic PEAKS at 6 weeks. This means that for 3 months, she screamed for most of the day and night. I had days where I was running on 2 hours of sleep, and unable to eat, shower or even use the washroom until dinner time. I’m sure I would have been a WONDERFUL employee (and great to have on the roads driving!) at this point in my life.

This isn’t about ‘handouts’ (although obviously she didn’t seem to register the many people pointing out that the benefits are from insurance, not taxes), but trying to keep women IN the workforce by legally giving them a reasonable time to be out of it. It isn’t about ‘affording’ children but having a job to return to once you’ve been home long enough to properly bond and care for your child.

I also find it funny that all of these people are having this argument and trying to sound so important on a website called celebrity babies. Hilarious.

Hilary on


I doubt you can get through Medical School without taking out a stafford loan. Isn’t that a handout? Or are you just taking alternative loans because you feel so strongly about not taking handouts and are willing to pay the extra interest fees to prove a point?!

I make a lot of money and I pay a lot of taxes and that is exactly why I want to have a longer maternity leave — because I’ve ALREADY paid for it.

If that makes me a socialist — proud to be one 🙂

Emily on

Maternity benefits and government food stamps are NOT the same thing.

At the basic level, maternity benefits simply protect your job for a given amount of time. Some companies in the US choose to pay new mothers during their maternity leave because it’s actually cheaper in the long run than paying for the training and onboarding of a replacement. I am not sure that anyone on this board has advocated for paid maternity leave that comes directly and solely from taxpayer dollars. In the US, that would be quite impossible right now anyway, considering our economic status…

I personally believe that there should be a mandatory period of job protection for new parents–but that additional benefits are the responsibility of employers and employees to determine and pay into. Our government simply cannot sustain paid maternity leave of any length, at least not right now. But job protection, at the minimum, is an important way to prevent discrimination.

I am expecting my first child in August, and my situation is not ideal–but I am very fortunate. My employer does not qualify for FMLA (it has less than 50 employees), meaning that I am not eligible for any federal- or state-mandated maternity leave–not even the unpaid 12 weeks. That pretty much means my company could fire me the day I give birth, without any legal consequence. This was a scary prospect for me at first, knowing that I could have a baby and lose my job at the same time. The US is full of small businesses, so the number of women in this vulnerable position–completely ineligible for any maternity benefits–is enormous. In my opinion, that is not fair.

Fortunately my company is caring and respecful of new parents, and they have a policy in place allowing me 8 weeks of unpaid leave (aka job protection), with additional unpaid time negotiable. Plus, through a company insurance policy I will also receive 4-8 weeks of partial pay through disability insurance. This is NOT a handout; this is an employee benefit that both my employer and our employees pay into. My boss said he will also grant an extra 4 weeks of unpaid leave if I need it, because as a parent he knows how difficult it is to get into the swing of parenthood and bonding and breastfeeding. He’d rather have me back and well-adjusted an additional 4 weeks later than have a miserable zombie walking around. At this point I am grateful for his attitude, when I could have received nothing at all and be unemployed.

But until I got pregnant, I didn’t truly understand the importance of such benefits. I thought I’d have no qualms about jumping back into work right away, but being a mother–even just an expectant one–changes things. I wish my leave could be longer or that I could my full salary for at least a few weeks, but I am in a decent enough financial situation that I can make it work without fearing for my family’s financial wellbeing. Though I have worked hard and carefully saved money to be in this comfortable situation, I am incredibly fortunate.

(Note: Hard work does not always equal riches or success. Not everyone who is “poor” can help it, just as not everyone who is “rich” can help it. We are all at the mercy of circumstance to a certain degree. But everyone deserves equal protection and consideration under the law.)

I just hope that I will be mentally and emotionally ready to drop my baby off at the babysitter’s after 8-12 weeks. Even though my amazing mother-in-law will be babysitting, it is still hard to think about. (My reasons for returning to work are for a different post.)

Sg on

M – First of all, I’ve seen numerous people answer your question. Several Canadians have pointed out that their government does not pay their maternity leave benefits, but rather, that the money comes from a fund that they pay into. I know nothing about the Canadian system, I’m just pointing out that while you’re ranting like a maniac about your question not being answered, it’s been addressed several times.

Second, I think it’s pretty funny that you “don’t need medicare, since you have health insurance,” and won’t need social security either. Newsflash…you have NO IDEA if you will need Medicare, because you have NO IDEA what the state of our health system will be by the time you’re old. (I’m saying this as a 30 yo. US citizen who has never gone without health insurance in my life.) There is the very real possibility that you may become very ill later in life, and may be uninsurable. If we don’t have certain protections against pre-existing conditions, you could very well need to rely on Medicare. (I’m sure since you’re so smart, you are aware that the new health law addresses this, but who knows what will happen to that after the legal battles.) I’m going to take the high road and say that I hope this never happens to you, because unlike you, I do have compassion, if for the fact that you’re at least a fellow human being.

Btw, I’m a registered Republican, attorney, and pregnant with my first child. My husband and I are both professionals and have save and planned for this baby. I qualify for FMLA and my employer provides 60% of my salary for 7 of those weeks — NOT a handout, that’s part of my compensation package. I don’t agree that governments should be funding year-long maternity leaves either. But you sound absolutely ridiculous, ranting about having to pay taxes. It’s called living in a society – how else do you expect for us to have services? Maybe if your house catches on fire, we should just tell the firefighters not to bother with you – you certainly don’t need their services. Or if you’re the victim of a crime? Well you certainly don’t NEED the police or the justice system, hmm?

I’m also the child of a doctor (and a nurse), and have been around healthcare professionals my whole life, and I’m so relieved to say I’ve never met any as shallow, campassionless, and ugly as you.

C on

Phew, it was really interesting and exhausting to work through all these posts. As a girl living in Germany (Achtung baby, socialism!) I wanted to give you something to think about: many women here don’t even have the possibility to go straight back to work after having a baby, as there are not nearly enough nurseries and kindergarten places available (either private or public ones). I do ask myself where the socialism kicks in here. AND: if I look after my own child I am – technically speaking – a nanny. Don’t nannies get paid? Looking after a child is hard WORK. Women staying at home also WORK – think about cleaning, cooking, ironing etc. etc. etc. I really don’t understand why this never is appreciated.
For the record: I’ve lived in the US and the UK and have to say I never had better healthcare than here in Germany and my native Austria. And I work for these benefits!

g on

I work for a US employer with less than 50 employees, in an at-will state, so I have zero legal protection. Honestly, I’m ok with that. I don’t know if it makes sense for a small business to have to hold open my job (much less pay me) because I choose to have a baby. I’m a lawyer and they couldn’t really just hire someone to fill in for me for a few months.

Luckily, my boss agreed to let me take 12 weeks off unpaid, and ended up paying my health insurance the whole time as a show of good faith because he hoped I’d come back (which I did).

I wouldn’t have taken any more time off than we could easily afford, and I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant if I did not have a plan in place to pay for our lives while I was on unpaid leave. That’s not to say that “poor people shouldn’t have kids” – it’s only to say what I personally would/wouldn’t do due to my work ethic/morals/etc.

Katie on

I happen to agree with most of what I’m hearing from M and Tara. To all the socialists and liberals, please feel free to give your earnings away to whoever you would like. That is your right. I would appreciate the right to keep my earnings for my family.

Indira on

Well said, Emily! Good luck to you!

fuzibuni on

Just curious about the Canadians who have maternity leave automatically deducted from their paychecks and are happy about it.

What happens for people who decide not to/or can’t have kids? Do they get their money back?

Can you choose not to have maternity leave deducted from your check, or it is mandatory?

When you have a baby, do you get more money than you put in, or do you just get your own money back?

If you just get your own money back, then why not save it yourself rather than having the government force it on everyone, even those who don’t have children? But if you get more back than you put in, who is paying for you to stay home with your baby?

After childbearing years, do people still have to pay into the maternity leave benefit or is there a cut off when it is no longer mandatory?

Just curious.

noam on

@fuzibuni: i am not sure that this is totally correct, but my understanding of the canadian system is this: each working individual pays a small percentage (i think it’s a little less than 2% with each paycheck) into something called employment insurance, which covers maternity leave, as well as compassionate care leave (taking care of an ill relative), and personal illnesses. the amount you get is in relation to your working salary, and it’s not a government program. i don’t think you can opt out, because it covers more than just maternity leave. to all canadians out there–sorry if this is totally wrong! correct any/all mistakes!

KRS on

Well done, noam! I would just add coverage for lay-offs and that the parental leave covers not only pregnant or new moms, but dads and adoptive parents too. It’s a system that’s been very good to me, as I had to leave work quite suddenly and earlier than planned with both my daughters. My husband was able to take 3 months off during our first child’s first year after my leave was up, and that made easing back into work bearable for me. I’ve been fortunate enough never to need the benefits for being laid off or sick, or for the “compassionate care” part, but who can tell what lies around the corner, right? Fuzibuni, the deductions aren’t optional, I’m pretty sure every working Canadian contributes. Looking at my last few paychecks a little closer, the rate seems to be between 1.5 and 2 percent. So totally worth it!

Anonymous on

Well, reading M’s comments – you clearly have been “spoiled” by the unfortunately typical American way of thinking. That is why the Europeans laugh at us – because of opinions like that. I grew up in Germany and moved back the US a few years ago and I was appalled by the health insurance benefits here. I would gladly give up half of my paycheck to have the security of going to the doctor without an additional bill waiting for me. You can have the best insurance plan and still have bills waiting at home. Every time you go to the doctors, you have to ask yourself the questions, would this be covered? Can I afford this?

It has nothing to do with waiting to afford to have children – You can wait until you afford it and then something unfortunate can happen and you are in the unfortunate position of having to ask for help… sucks to be in that position then right? Because then someone will get in your face and say, I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU without knowing your situation.

And how about the people that can afford to have children and can’t have children? And then have to spend over 20K to even have a child and then have to deal with the horrendous costs?

As I said before, I would gladly give up half of my paycheck for taxes for the security that whenever I need help I don’t have to be scared of the repercussions of visiting a doctor or a hospital. And I am not even talking about having babies yet… this is just in general.

And yes, it is an incentive to have children if you don’t have to worry about how to pay the bills because you have an income coming in while you are bonding with your child. What is wrong with that? If we go by how M thinks, the next centuries will show that we will not have children anymore because we can’t afford to lose our jobs.

Studies have shown that people who leave in Europe with this “socialist” way of living, live longer and more happy. People in Europe work to leave, people in the US live to work. That is why we are always sick and mad at each other… that is not a healthy way of living.

M, if you consider socialism being helpful of the person next to me because the next day I could be that exact person in that exact situation and would appreciate the help, then you are the poster child for why other countries laugh at the United States.

Lisa on

@M…I agree, its not your responsibility to pay for others. BUT, not everyone who is low-income, homeless, poor is looking for a handout. Your view of the world is very black and white and there is mostly gray. Another posted above, “Karma is a b*tch.” Living life with the ME and Mine attitude will only get you to that handout line, because I believe in karma and fate. Even some of the richest people, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have both said they are not taxed enough and have pledged to give 99% of their billions to charity. If that were you, your name might be Ebenezer Scrooge.

Molly on

Katie, then you can move out of the US and please take M- Tara H with you. A majority of Americans believe in helping others.

fuzibuni on

Molly, I’m an american who believes in helping others. I am actively involved in two charities, and donate to four others. But I don’t believe it’s the government’s job to take citizen’s money and decide how to “charitably” spend it. Look at how the US gov’t has managed social security, veterans health care, the national budget, medicare, etc etc.

I think individual citizens are much better at deciding how to allocate their funds, and we should have the right to decide how to spend our own money. Citizens used to take personal responsibility when we saw someone in need, but now we seem to think that is the government’s job.

Regarding the Canadian Employment Insurance, I looked it up and the deduction rate is around 1.75% for every paycheck. It is government regulated, and no one can opt out. When you need to stop working to take care of a baby or a sick relative you can collect some of your money back. But if you don’t use the benefits, you cannot get a refund.

While 1.75% doesn’t seem like much, if you make $55,000 a year, you pay nearly $1000 a year out of your paycheck for EI. If you work from 20 years old until you are 60 years old, you will have paid nearly $40,000 into Employment insurance. I doubt many Canadians are getting back what they put in. Personally, I would rather have been able to save that money and decide how to spend it myself.

KRS on

Fuzibuni, I get what you’re trying to say, but I think your math is a little off for the average Canadian(trying to remember myself at 20, pretty sure my earnings were a heck of a lot less than $55,000!)…Good for you if you can save up that much money, or manage your family’s needs on one income, or plan ahead for emergencies, but please don’t knock a great system!

fuzibuni on

KRS, I just picked an average number for someone over a lifetime. One may not earn that at 20 years old, but may earn more than that at 40.

Even if you earned an average of $20,000 per year over your working life, that would still be about $20,000 that you put into employment insurance, and I doubt you would get it all back in sick leave payments.

It seems like you are suggesting it’s easier to have it automatically deducted than to save on your own… I personally would rather have a choice. If others would rather have it automatically taken out, then that should be a choice in my opinion, not a government mandate. Just my perspective.

KRS on

OK, Fuzibuni, I’m not going to argue the math with you, or try to convert somebody to my way of thinking. And like I said before, if you can save that kind of money ( I received approximately $30,000 for my 2 separate mat leaves totalling just under 2 years) then more power to you! I know I couldn’t save that much in my late 20’s and early 30’s since we just bought our first house and wanted to start a family- had already saved $20,000 or so for the down payment and didn’t want to start over and have to wait until we were 50 for babies! Employment Insurance is simply that – insurance- which we all buy no matter what country we’re from and ususally never need to use for anything (house, car, mortgage, etc). At least this way I’ve already received more than I’ve contributed, and was able to comfortably enjoy the all-important first year with my 2 girls without too much strain or stress. I’ll happily continue making the contributions with the hope that I’ll never need to draw from them again (sick leave or compassionate care!). The next generation of Canadians will benefit from my contributions, as I’ve benefitted from the previous generation….who knows – maybe you have to be a super laid- back and mellow Canuck to be OK with this?! Anyway, respect to you and your viewpoint, and luckily for you you’ll always have the “choice” that you desire.

Noelle on

@fuzibuni – you don’t realize anyone could get sick for a longer period of time. Let’s just imagine you make 55.000 a yr, you have paid for about 20 years and have, there for, accumulated 20.000. In your 21st year of work you fall and break you back. You have to stay at home for months at a time (this just happened to my 36yr old collegue). In the Canadian or the Dutch system you wouldn’t have to worry because you’d still get paid (and you get back a portion of that 20.000), however.. in the American system you either have to depend on your husband (if you have on) or hope your family can support you (if you have one), you have to live on your savings (if you have any), you have to sell your house/apartment or… you get a private security which would cost you a lot more than 1000 a year.

I prefer our system… Despite the fact some people might abuse it.

cdn on

@fuzibuni, If you had done your research you would have noticed that the EI insurance premium is capped off at a maximum of Insurable earnings so for this year the most anyone would have to pay into this insurance is 747.36. I have no issues paying into this system because it helps people who need it.

Lisa on

I think it’s funny that a country like the US would be missing the point of something called unemployment insurance, in a country where so many people are losing their jobs, homes and life savings because the economy and health care are so terrible. It’s UNEMPLOYMENT insurance, and the main purpose of it isn’t for people to have babies, but for people who have been laid off.

I find your system so ridiculous, where one friend who was unemployed and pregnant got all her medical costs fully covered by medicare, yet a few years later when gainfully employed she’s going into huge debt because now that she has an income they won’t cover any of her medical costs, but neither will her employers insurance. Another friend fell and broke her back and had to declare bankruptcy at 26- she had a good job, but not enough to cover the $150k hospital bills!

Then there are all of the poor people losing their homes because of the terrible economy in your country, something that just isn’t happening in our ‘socialist’ country. My parents and others like them have bought second homes in the US with cash because your property values have crashed. Which is great for them but what about all the poor hardworking families who have lost everything because of things out of their control?

So work hard and keep your money but don’t come crying when you get some rare disease and lose everything you have because you have ridiculous medical bills and are physically unable to work anymore. Don’t wonder what went wrong when your child goes on a shooting spree because they were stuffed in a daycare center at 6 weeks old and never properly bonded with you the way they should have. Don’t you know that infants should just tough it up and learn to be hard working citizens right away just like you?