By: Yesenia Alfonso, Executive Notes and Comments Editor, J.D. Candidate, May 2019, St. Thomas University School of Law.

Traditionally, women are expected to become mothers and care for their children. How can a new mother care for her child if the mother has to return to work immediately because she cannot afford to have twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave. The United States is a developed country who does not provide paid maternity leave. President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). However, the FMLA only offers unpaid leave to care for a new child. Twenty-Nine (29) to thirty-eight percent (38%) of women earn more than their husbands. Twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave could be detrimental to a household. Who will pay the bills?

Further, having children is for our biological and economic survival. Women will be having less children if there is no paid maternity leave. A women will have to choose between her career or having a baby. Is this what America wants to be known as? America should pass a law requiring every employer with a certain amount of employees to have paid maternity leave. The paid maternity leave could be a contribution, just like annual leave is accumulated each month. The paid maternity leave will be an added contribution that women can choose to contribute to or not.

If there was a required paid maternity leave, women will not have the burden of choosing between a career or having a baby. Women attend college more than men. Women make up around fifty-six percent (56%) of students on campus. Women are the future and America needs to help them out to continue being mothers and career women.