President Obama stated Monday that the United States should pass legislation to offer paid maternity leave for women in the workplace.
The President is concerned that the U.S. is one of only three countries in the world to not have mandated paid maternity leave, and as soon-to-be graduates entering the working world, we should be too.
"Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth — now that's a pretty low bar," said Obama. "That, we should be able to take care of."
To promote his plan, the President has instituted six weeks of paid leave for White House employees on maternity leave and has asked government agencies to expand flexible work arrangements where possible. Unfortunately, he does not have the power to give paid leave to other federal workers.
Conservatives in the House have stated their concern about where the money will come from to fund this bill (which would need to be passed by Congress, not Obama alone). Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro (D) proposed legislation to provide up to 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, which would be funded by a 0.2 percent tax on employee wages.
"There is only one developed country in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave, and that is us," said Obama. "And that is not the list you want to be on — on your lonesome. It's time to change that."