When it comes to ‘America First,’ support for new families is last

With young teachers comes the inevitable maternity or paternity leaves. However, there are deeply rooted equality issues in the family leave world.

Now, in all, only 12 percent of Americans have access to paid family leave through their employers. This includes all professions, as well as both maternity and paternity leaves. That leaves 78 percent of the population with no time with their newborn child, at least none with pay.

Among various global powers, the United States falls far behind. Germany, around the median of the data, requires roughly 50 weeks of paid parental leave. The top country, Estonia, has a mandatory 87 weeks of paid leave. In the United States, there are no requirements on the amount of paid leave.

According to various scholarly articles by NCBI, children separated from their mothers before 20 weeks are more likely to suffer from academic and health issues. This can be attributed to the bonding process that parents are supposed to have with their children.

Not only are people separated from their children too early, but the stress of working also causes strain in the relationship between mother and child. Especially for mothers that choose to breastfeed their children, the stress results in physiological difficulties for the mother. Not only is it hard on breastfeeding, but there have been links between early post-partum separation and depression.

The problem is not only that our family leave is lacking in comparison to other countries, but that America claims to value family traditions and needs before all. However, by separating a family while children are young and stressing mothers beyond reason at work later, “family first” is hard to believe.

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