Anonymous asked in Social ScienceGender Studies · 1 decade ago

Paid maternity leave?

Why should an employer be obligated to pay a woman, pregnant by choice, for doing no work for the company?

I dont understand this whole entitlement mentality-- how is it fair for the employer?

20 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    My original thoughts that men and women are entitled to time off, stemmed from a social democratic system of government that paid for maternity/paternity leave, not the private employer. However, in a capitalist society where the cost will fall on the private company, from a business perspective, the sense of automatic entitlement make no sense. If I'm running a business and have a budget to work with, why should I have to pay for maternity leave, when getting pregnant is one's personal choice, at my expense? I hate to say this, but this may even make me want to discriminate against hiring women, because as a manager I'd want to run my business with minimum cost and interruptions. Although I still don't have my mind made up about how to go about doing this, I think maybe people who choose to have children should plan so ahead of time and save their sick and vacation time to use. If a company chooses to give its employees extra days/weeks for maternity/paternity leave (which if I was in a position to decide and could afford, I would, after a year of employment), then fine, but it's not an entitlement. Also, what about childless people? They should get less days off because of their lifestyle/personal choices, which may even be more responsible?

    EDIT: ......., Running a business is not about "being nice." Emotions have little place in the business world. When I ask for a raise, I don't expect it out of my manager's "niceness" or him feeling sorry for me. I'm being paid for the value I bring to the company and the company is making money for its value to the customer. And women dont' "have to" go through pregnancy. It's a personal choice to get pregnant. When some of us make the decision of taking a job and moving up, we understand the sacrifices we need to make to be a part of the professional world. Sometimes we have to pick between the two, cuz trust me, I would like to have five kids too.

    EDIT: Granting maternity leave can be one incentive for employees, just like other benefits...but if a company can't afford or chooses not to pay for maternity leave, then it's simply a business decision. If they are the ones with the power, it means you're easily replaceable by someone who can do the job with less cost. If you have an edge and add a lot of value to the company, you're the one with the power so they will accommodate to keep you. That has been my experience at least. Walking into a company and expecting free days off automatically for choosing to get pregnant, don't make sense. I believe my concern is how the business is run, the budget and operations, yours are mostly "morals." If paying maternity leave is a matter of incentives, then the lack of it should be enough for the employee to switch jobs and go elsewhere where the incentives are greater. If the company loses its valuable employees for the lack of incentives, then it will change its policies. Problem solved. Let supply and demand rule. Leave emotions out of it.

    EDIT: Unavailable: With all due respect :), I have never had a child and I'm far from a dead species. Having a child is not a necessity for survival, but a personal choice. And as far as it being a medical procedure, that's what sick days are for.

    EDIT: Oracle: The rule of supply and demand rules in this case too. If I'm a valuable employee (rare/low supply) and the company always wants valuable employees ( high demand) as the employee, I have more pull and power, and my company will bend itself to keep me happy. That would be your supply and demand rule. An employee has the freedom to either not take a job with a company that doesn't give acceptable benefits or switch jobs when she/he's unsatisfied. And a company has the right to structure its business to give whatever benefits it desires, within the law. Charity is not to be confused with running a business. If it was up to me I would want an employee to get 3 months off to have a baby after six months of employment, but I can't do it at the expense of interrupting my ops, going over my budget and risking the company's survival and my own. And when you force companies to do this, they will subtly discriminate against women. And I wouldn't know about the "rich and lucky"...I started from nothing, have earned everything I have and continue to do so. This is exactly why I understand the importance of earning and hard work, and feeling little sympathy for the automatic entitlement mentality.

    If it sounds tough, change the government type and get on the government, but don't kill the messenger or businesses that are trying to survive.

    EDIT: Kubebe: A company is only responsible for its business. The well-being of society, implementing and supporting values are not your company's job. It's not their job to support you in expanding your family or taking the responsibility of private individual choices. If you want to have children and the company has a policy of not giving paid time off, plan on how to go about supporting yourself financially and timewise, as every responsibile parent should. And I don't mean "you" as in you, but as in general people :)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Would it be fair to give a woman the 'choice' between staying with the company until the day she gives birth and coming back the day after OR going home for 4-6 weeks without money? No secure maternity leave means that women either have to suffer to keep a job or accept the possibility of losing a job for being pregnant.

    Lioness, supply and demand is good for objects/goods/services and expressly bad for humans and human relations. That mentality has lead to spurious healthcare systems, low-pay and poor work practices. It is the ideology of the young, rich and the lucky.

    [edit] Always expect a TD or three. People want the world to be a nightmare, a dog's world, but I won't assent.

    The problem people in the US have is a distorted idea of the word 'choice'. Lioness, when you say a woman can 'choose' or has the 'freedom' to choose between unfair alternatives, you limit the meaning of those words. Weighted choices are never real choices, they are a 'beggers can't be choosers' scenario. All the time I am working towards a change of government policy and economic-driven politics.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I could write a book about the "entitlement mentality", where people feel that the company owes them more money and/or benefits than they agreed to when they were hired.

    Employers in the US are not obligated to provide paid leave, only unpaid FMLA. This applies to new mothers and fathers.

    As you can see from the answers, very few employees will ever "get" that the company is not a bank with unlimited resources that can or should pay people for months who chose not to work.

    "Without your health, you've got nothing." That's true of individuals as well as companies. A company must put its OWN health first, or there won't even be any jobs, let alone company paid benefits. Which is why most companies offer only unpaid FMLA.

    Try to understand that many employees look to the company like children look to parents. They feel the company has an obligation to care about and provide for them especially when they feel they have special needs. They see *paid* maternity leave as an example of this.

    Bottom line, you have to just deal with the entitlement mentality, it ain't goin' away.

    If you are going to employ younger women who may get pregnant -- even though most will never even try to understand the company's perspective if you don't / can't offer paid maternity leave, you'll be much better off if they feel you understand theirs.

  • 1 decade ago

    It's not entirely an 'entitlement' mentality, it's also about negotiating different ways of working, and get the best employee for your money from an increasingly competitive marketplace.

    Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the employers have been the ones to dictate working terms (prior to then, the seasons dictated how work was done in what were, mainly, agricultural societies).

    Since the social revolutions of the 1960s and 70s, and particualrly with the advent of computers, people's habits and desires around work have changed, people are not only more mobile (cars, planes, etc), but also more highly skilled and have higher expectations.

    At the same time wages have increased in real terms and so has international competition.

    In the west, with declining birthrates and cheap labour from developing countries playing into declining manufacturing profits, capital has moved sharply in 'research and development' and 'technology', as well as finance (which is more traditonal but increasingly comeptitive as the asian banks start making a big push westward).

    The end result is, employers, particularly global employers, need quality staff and will pay to get them.

    One of the ways they pay is to accomodate staff desires for a better work/life balance, with conditions such as maternity/paternity leave factored in, something feminists (I know, but it's actually applicable here) pushed hard for in the 70s and which has come to be recognised as fairly standard.

    Some merchant banks in Australia are currently offering five year contracts for graduate staff (first year university leavers) with one FULL YEAR of paid leave as part of the package ~ work four, get paid for five. How you take the leave is up to you, but 12 weeks annual leave is NOT to be sneered at. It's also a clever way to accomodate maternity/paternity leave requests, sabbaticals, etc etc ...

    This type of stuff starts at the top end, with the smarter, better educated employee class who can make the demands, and eventually, over time, trickles down through the workforce as expected entitlements by all types of employees.

    If you want good staff, you pay for them ~ and reap the benefits.

    It's just new ways of doing things, and it won't stop there! And to those saying it's a burden to the individual firms ~ they would prefer that than the staff drought they faced a few years ago, which meant that development lagged and competitors caught up. It's on a par with tech firms allowing pets in the office, or mining firms okaying radios and extended sleep provisions.

    And don't feel too sorry for the firms ~ after all, you're paying if you are one of their customers! But on the upside, if you work for them, you're also GETTING paid!

    Cheers :-)

    PS: Unpaid maternity/paternity leave is a legal requirement in Australia, as is four weeks paid annual leave.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It may not be fair to the employer, but usually its only for a short time (at least in the United States.)

    It may help to know that in the military (or at least the Army) a man can get paternity leave to be with his newborn child and wife (or the mother). I always thought that was cool and really gave equality to the situation. Why should mothers be the only ones with the time off? Dads want to see their new children, too.

  • 1 decade ago

    There is no good reason for the employer or the state to be involved with maternity (or paternity) benefits. The "entitlement mentality" needs to go. The couple should budget for childbirth and make the necessary financial provision or make sure they have necessary insurance.

  • 1 decade ago

    Not true.

    If an employer pays the salary (instead of vacation/sick time), that employer is doing so of its own free will. There is no law or other obligation requiring them to do so.

  • 1 decade ago

    Most 'paid maternity leave' is a combination of sick time and available vacation time. If you don't have the time, you don't get paid.

    If there is a separate maternity time off agreement it's usually a benefit of a union or collective bargaining contract.

    Our contract allowed for a specific amount of time for a maternity (or paternity) leave but we funded it with our own vacation/sick time.

  • kub2
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Is this only pertaining to the women that plan for children? what about the women that don't plan to get pregnant, are they to be treated differently? my point being... we couldn't give one women financial help, and negate the other because she "should of know better".

    I'm sorry lioness, but I have to agree that our success as a human race ultimately relies on our children. If that means less profit margins... so be it.

  • Vianka
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I don't know, but I'm constantly afraid that I will be discriminated against based on the possibility that I *might* get pregnant. I don't even want to have children and the chances of an accidental pregnancy are nil. Sometimes I feel the need to mention to my employer that the possibility does not exist for me. I am glad that it is illegal to not hire a woman based on the belief she will just get pregnant and leave.

    There have been several women at my work who have become pregnant and most of them have returned to work.

    One of the managers who is a single woman had a baby and was back after three months. Her cousin, who also works at the company, got pregnant, too and is due back to work in a month.

    Sometimes it is worth it for the company to retain the woman who had a baby because she has specialized knowledge of the company which is highly valued.

    Edit: to be fair, at least 3 men at our office have gone on extended medical leave at our office (that I know of). Two of them had gastric bypass surgery and the other had chronic back pain. The guy who has chronic back pain has been out for several months. The two guys with gastric came back after a couple of months. One of the guys with gastric quit after being back less than one month.

    Yes, women do get pregnant, but stuff happens to men, too. You take a gamble when you hire either.

    Oracle: Are you a database person?

  • 1 decade ago

    Well, if she has benefits, has worked hard, what is wrong with that? Every person in this world was given birth to by a woman! Why not pay the woman so she can nuture her child without having to stress about money for 6 weeks until she comes back to work? Why is that so bad! I think it's great! It's fair because it's the right thing to do. Babies are born everyday!

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