As a single person I would love to see the pregnancy leaves shit-canned and everyone gets X weeks off to do with as they see fit.
First of all ... there is not generally any such thing as "pregnancy leave" in the US. There is parental
leave, available to new mothers or
new fathers. Being "single" doesn't matter. If you have a new child, by adoption or birth, whether you're single, married, or civilly-united, you're eligible.
Secondly ... most of the US has no paid parental leave at all
. Government and very large employers are required to offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid
leave, subject to lots of restrictions. Smaller employers don't have to offer even a single day of unpaid parental leave.
And finally ...it is always a little mind-boggling to read comments from people who apparently are under the mistaken impression that parental leave is some kind of special reward for parents, whose purpose is to convey society's belief that parents are just naturally wonderful special people who deserve lots of treats that the lowly childless don't get.
I can understand why that would be annoying to people who don't have children. But that is not the point of parental leave. It is not a reward for parents.
We offer parental leave (briefly, with no pay, and only for those with the right kinds of employers
) because newborn children (or newly adopted young children) require an immense amount of care, and we as a society have decided it's better to (grudgingly, and minimally) facilitate the provision of that care by the new child's parent(s), as opposed to the alternatives such as:
* paying for someone other than the child's parent(s) to provide care;
* forcing the child's parent(s) to quit their job(s) to provide care;
* throwing newborns into some kind of collective institutional facility; or
* not having new children cared for at all.
In fact, America's parental leave policies are absurdly, counter-productively stingy
. But if bdog is seriously unhappy at the prospect of not being allowed to take 12 weeks off work with no pay in exchange for spending untold hours in pediatricians' waiting rooms, changing endless numbers of diapers, not getting more than a couple of hours of undisturbed sleep in any 24-hour period, and cutting back on all other household expenses to pay for all the sudden new costs of raising a child ...
... well, then I would advise bdog to run not walk to his employer's HR office and ask about the possibility of getting 12 weeks of unpaid leave to seek treatment for mental illness
. A few minutes of conversation with the HR director ought to convince them of the request's validity.
Disclaimer #1: Yes, I'm a parent. No, neither I nor Ms Kurt ever took a single day of parental leave because the "benefits" are so freakin' minimal
that in our case it made more sense for Ms Kurt to just quit her job when our child was born. Fortunately, we were able to handle the 40% cut in our household income, accompanied by a sudden leap in expenses, though for many other families that's an immense hardship.
Disclaimer #2: The above recital of some of the more difficult sides of parenthood doesn't mean that it's not worth it -- for many people (including us) it's the single most wonderful thing that happens in their lives. It's just that nobody in their right minds would consider getting a few weeks of unpaid leave from work to be a reward
for parenthood. There are
parenthood, but getting a sweet deal from the Family and Medical Leave Act ain't one of them.