Women of HR Guest Post: Gender Pay Equity and Parental Leave

This week, I was lucky enough to be a featured guest blogger for Women of HR. My blog entry, titled Gender Pay Equity and Parental Leave, touched on the fact that pay equality will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve without paid parental leave. The post referenced my interview with Melanie Hulbert, about many of the same subjects. My challenge to you HR pros, is how can you leverage your power and position, to help bring these goals to fruition?

In most developed countries, paid parental leave is considered a given, not a luxury. With the firestorm of controversy surrounding basic healthcare in this country, it’s safe to say paid parental leave isn’t on the forefront of issues. When comparing the US to it’s international counterparts, it becomes obvious that the US may want to consider making it a priority.

Here’s some excerpts from: Gender Pay Equity and Parental Leave

“Paid Leave in the States, the US is one of four countries in the world that have no federal law requiring paid time off for new parents. Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland are the other three.”

“A 2011 report by Janet Walsh, deputy director of the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch, “Failing its Families,“ reports that while over fifty nations guarantee paid leave for dads, a mere estimated 10% of non-government workers have paid parental leave in the US””

“Sweden’s paternity-leave policy, instituted in 1974, is one of the best in the world. In Sweden, the government will pay new parents a maximum of 80% of their salary up to approximately $65,000, for thirteen months. Both parents are legally required to contribute, with fathers (or mothers, depending) required to take at least two of those months. As a result, government statistics indicate that almost all Swedish fathers take off the minimum two months, at least. That said, Sweden still has a long way to go, with women still earning less than men, and women taking 76% of the parental leave according to Statistics Sweden (SCB) in 2011.”

It may be a cliche, but children truly are the future. If we don’t begin to make it easier for them and their parents, to provide basic care for their children, we may be in for some trouble. We should begin looking to countries who do well economically, and still manage to provide this basic care for it’s citizens.

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