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    The day after giving birth, I was asked to return to work.America needs paid family vacation | Bobby Dempsey

    Twenty-four hours after giving birth to my second child, my employer called me and asked when I was planning to return to work.

    It was a high-risk pregnancy, a complex and unstable delivery with a breech birth. I should have been hospitalized for a few days. But my oldest kid, and just one year old, needed major surgery that couldn’t be delayed. So we took the newborn home and hurriedly prepared to go to the hospital two hours away. There, the oldest child underwent surgery while the newborn was at home and caring for his relatives.

    When I collected things, the phone rang. I was working for a person in the personnel department of a paper bag factory. After a brief question about how my new baby is behaving, the HR representative came up with the real reason for her phone call.

    “So we know you were planning to rest for a few weeks, but I just wanted to make sure you knew you could come back anytime now. If you want, you can go back to this weekend’s schedule. “After a short pause, she added.

    I heard the message loudly and clearly.

    My employer did not provide paid maternity leave, so the longer I was absent from work, the longer I was left without income. This was the money I was urgently needed, as I had two young children to help and the medical costs were piled up. By hanging the salary in front of me, the HR staff knew that I was very attractive to get back to work faster than planned and much faster than I should.

    It was a rural area of ​​the coal region of Pennsylvania where I live in the early 1990s. I think there have been many changes since then.

    Buildback Better Plan version Passed the House of Representatives on November 19th Includes paid family leave provisions. Paid leave is only required for four weeks, which was much shorter than 12 weeks in the original plan, but is foretold as a big win and is depressing. To make matters worse, even that minimal paid family vacation is unlikely to survive in the final version of the bill.

    At least not if Joe Manchin gave way.West Virginia Senator Expressed his opposition To Any Paid parental leave is left on the bill, and the Democratic Party needs his critical vote to get the package through in the Senate.

    It is not understandable that an individual can determine the fate of something that affects so many American families on his own. Manchin did not have to endure the physical and mental distress of returning to work before recovering from childbirth. His family is wealthy and may benefit from the support of nannies, assistants and paid day care. He may lose his job or pay the invoice required for your salary because he needs to take a break from work to take care of a sick child or deal with a family emergency. I don’t think I knew of a panic worried that it might not be enough.

    It’s amazing that a man who has never needed paid vacation has the ability to protect it from the millions of parents who need it.Manchin seems to be enjoying a power trip and is enjoying it attention His cat-and-mouse game is fascinating. But for many people, especially postpartum mothers, this is not a game. Whether or not you can spend your precious time at home for just a few weeks without fear of financial loss can literally be a matter of life or death.

    Like many industrial employees (at least at the time), the factory where I worked used a point system to track and regulate employee absenteeism.When you took a holiday-of course unpaid-it didn’t matter if you were ill or not a Vacation, or attending sick relatives or family emergencies. It was all treated the same. You were given points for each absence. After 5 points, a warning was displayed. 6 points, unpaid one day stop. If you reach 7 points, you have been fired. For each prenatal care appointment, you earned points after you were absent and another point during the time you missed during childbirth.

    It is unforgivable that American companies are allowed to operate this way.In a handful of countries without national paid leave, the United States Much more The largest and richest.

    It is ruthless to force people to choose between salary and family, or their health. For those who have just given birth, it is especially cruel and dangerous. I suffered from serious (and potentially life-threatening) complications during and after each pregnancy. I’m not unusual at all.USA has One of the best Global maternal mortality in developed countries – and the risk is especially high for black and Native American women and poor rural women. Workers in these communities are also more likely to receive little or no paid leave from their employer.

    Only roughly 1 in 5 workers Paid family vacations are available in the United States. The rest are forced to make impossible and dangerous choices. 1 in 4 The new mother will return to work within two weeks of giving birth. I directly know that it is not long enough to recover.

    From a purely economic and labor perspective, the country’s paid leave policy makes sense. Paid leave actually keeps people at work in the long run. If parents do not even have the minimum paid leave available for emergencies, they may be forced to quit their jobs – or they will be dismissed.

    Paid family vacations can make a big difference to new parents, but they are not the only ones to benefit. Paid leave is also very beneficial to those who are in the “sandwich generation” situation I am in right now.about 44 million Americans Provide care to parents and other adult relatives and friends. This is equivalent to 37 billion hours of unpaid work each year.

    Providing basic minimum paid parental leave to all Americans should not be controversial – and definitely should not seem like such an impossible goal.

    The day after giving birth, I was asked to return to work.America needs paid family vacation | Bobby Dempsey

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