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Is it better to be pregnant in the US?

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!


About scrubgrub

I'm just another soul on the internet, posting random thoughts into the ether, because well I love stumbling on other peoples random thoughts, so I figured why not add mine to the mix too. I'm also the mom to two very funny little boys, and how can you not share that with everyone?

11 responses »

  1. So interesting, I had no idea! Congratulations by the way if I haven’t said it already. Looks like its better to birth here and buy for the birth in the US. Especially if you aren’t going to stay forever. Are you finding lots of random people coming up and rubbing your belly? My friends say they get that a lot… nice old men, random lady at the store… I guess in a way I will use the system right back if/when I have kids here, since i will finally be able to legally work =)

    • Thanks, yes the trips I made back to the US for the Holidays and for work have helped me stock up on all clothing, diapers, wipes, you name it. Too bad I don’t work for a Brasilian company; otherwise I would enjoy all 6 months of leave.
      People always asked me about the belly rubbing in the US, and I guess I have a face that says” touch me and die”, because no one has EVER come up to me that I didn’t know and tried to touch my belly, here or in the US.

      And wow Congrats on being so close to being “legit”

  2. well that may be the only positive of a BIG 4 in the US. I get 6 months off but only 5 months of that is 100% pay either way I’ll take it. Oh ya PS: brewer’s have baby #2 on the way I am 15 weeks along. and I feel like crap still – ugh. I can’t wait to see your guys new kiddo, cuz the first one is killer cute. Miss you guys.

    • Oh yeah congrats! You had the worst 1st trimester last time too. I’m sorry!! But yay for Big4 firms, that’s AWESOME leave.

  3. Not to start a debate on semantics, but I’d never thought of Brazil as a particularly socialist country (two right-wing dictatorships in recent history and all). The benefits might be good compared to the US but they are still less than what you get in Western European countries like Britain and Germany and I wouldn’t call them socialist either. Brazil definitely has many populist streaks but I’m not sure about socialist ones.

    • lol I like to lovingly refer to Brazil as socialist. No it’s not a 100% socialist state, but I do think they like to dictate a lot of economic and social policy based on the social good of Brazil, and do have a love for socialism that us Americans do not. And while capitalism is thriving here, it is also heavily government regulated. More so than Europe, which I do tend to think is more favorable to socialism as well (considering its roots are from here). And if you don’t believe me try Wikipedia’s history of socialism in Brazil. There are many different types of socialism and ways that it is applied to a country.
      And again Lula the man himself “”Eu poderia dizer que me considero um homem com aptidões socialistas muito fortes. Agora, esse socialismo é um projeto de uma conquista da sociedade e não uma imposição de um governo. Não é possível fazer um socialismo por decreto, por medida provisória”, afirmou.”

      • Very interesting link! My point is that there hasn’t ever been an actual socialist government in Brazil, even though there have always been socialist and communist parties in opposition. Even PT has been very pragmatic in maintaining and extending the neo-liberal policies that were in place when they got to power.

        I guess it depends what side of the fence you’re on. If you are Brazilian, Brazil doesn’t look very socialist compared to Cuba, Venezuela or even pre-deregulation Scandinavian countries. If you are American, doesn’t every other country look a bit socialist? 😛

      • Ehh I’m a Republican. gasp… so of course everyone is Socialist in my eyes… even California, which I also lovingly refer to as a Socialist state 😉 But you are right, in comparison everyone could look a bit socialist.

  4. well, western hands had part in Brazil’s dictators. So it’s nice we in the west get to enjoy better lifestyles that people pay for here. So I think when we take about Brazil, we need to realize who really created a lot of these structural problems.

    Actually, the law is 4 months every company has to give paid leave. Actually the government pays not the company. But the company can choose to give up to 6 months signed into law as an option by lula.

    But in reality for the day to day Brazilian who still works informally, it’s really hard to get this benefit. It’s more for class A and B women in Brazil and some c class women who work in grocery stores or malls. however, almost all men do get to enjoy their couple days off.

    Socialism and it’s love really varies by places in the US. in Milwaukee, we had a socialist mayor for two decades. Wisconsin is very progress and many leaders are socialist or progressive. But in my opinion the US is more socialist than Brazil. While Brazil says this or that, when push comes to shove a lot of their programs are fluff to steal money. Anything given by the government usually turns to pooh here. Most of the better functioning organizations are for profit.

  5. “The US, unlike many countries isn’t a government run health care/benefits system.”

    My God, you’re such braindead asian clown. The US has obamacare, which is goverment run health care.

    If the US were so capitalist (what it’s not), it would never bailout the banks and insurance companies nor nor car I’m dutch and live in the US (Miami-Florida). Brazil behaves far more Capitalist though with a “social” face, what isn’t neo-liberalism at all.

    • again trolling really? Obamacare is new in the US, and if there was ever a great example of why it should be repealed, I think Brazil is a great example of what happens with it. Not going to get into a debate with you if the us is a capitalist society.


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