I thought I’d do some comparing of the US to Brasil. I’m an expat, that’s what I do 😉
Obviously Brasil is more baby friendly than the US, so I’m expecting lots more love here… and I kind of get it. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can cross the street and people will not run me over… not that I want to test that.
My nanny told me it’s 6 months of maternity leave for women, at 100% pay (verified by Wikipedia) Men only get 5 days of paternity leave. Which my husband calls 3″ days”, as it’s consecutive, so if I don’t time my baby for a Monday, part of those 5 days are weekend days. Contrast that from the liberal state of California that I came from… 3 months of paid leave on disability at 80% pay because I also had disability insurance through Met Life (6 weeks normally), and my husband got 2 weeks off. Paternity leave isn’t mandated, it’s a company by company thing, but 2 weeks seems to me to be standard in California. But as I said, LIBERAL.
Head over to Nevada and they don’t consider pregnancy a disability, thus no pay, and your job may not be safe either. Check out your state here. See in the US, unless you work for a big company you don’t get leave by law. Yeah a company may do it because they are nice, but there are no laws mandating it. Other countries may think we’re awful for not providing leave or pay, heck even countries in Africa give dad’s 3 days of leave. But the general US thought is people have vacation time, and if their wife get’s pregnant, the husband can use his vacation time. Unfair perhaps, but big companies that can afford to do more, do. Some companies give months off for dad’s and mom’s, that you can take at anytime, and break up into chucks over a full course of a year. Pretty cool huh?
But if you think about it, and you’re a small start up with just a few employees, the burden of providing leave for months at a time is difficult, even holding open a position for someone who may or may not come back can hurt a small business owner. Compound that with disability leave, in the US my company and I pay about 7% each into it, and I get it back. Other less baby friendly states may have lower disability (I didn’t check). Here in Brasil, its like 20% company and 12% employee, or something big like that… so yeah you ARE paying for your own leave… or the leave of your friends who have 8 babies 😉 The US, unlike many countries isn’t a government run health care/benefits system. So it’s a trade off. I can live in a less socialist country, and just save money knowing I’m going on leave, or I can live in Brasil and pay for everyone’s leave, even if I only ever have one baby, I’m paying into it for my whole career. My nanny pointed out she knows many a girl who plan jobs around getting pregnant, because they know they get 6 months of paid leave… sneaky yes, legal absolutely!