The GOP Has It Wrong on Paid Maternity Leave

Recently, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer shared that she's expecting twins this December. For any woman, the arrival of children is one of the most exciting times in her life, for her family, and the community that surrounds her. Moms deserve all the support they can get to raise their children in a healthy, stable way.

One person that new moms deserve support from the most is her employer. While many moms make the decision to stay at home with their little ones, many these days do not, and a woman's reentry to the workplace once her child is born is often inevitable. Paid maternity leave is a critical component of any woman's plan to raise the child she loves and ultimately return to the job she wants. Our nation's leaders should allow employers to give new moms a hand by supporting paid maternity leave, and therefore, support a woman when she both works and raises a child if that's what she wants or needs to do. Democrats and President Obama understand the importance of paid leave policies for working families and workplace productivity. That's why the President announced last week that federal contractors will now be required to offer employees paid sick leave, and why he called on Congress to pass paid family leave.

The news out of Marissa Mayer's pregnancy announcement was that she plans to take two weeks off directly after the birth of her twins. Many people had strong reactions to this news, often criticizing her for the choice she made to return to work after two weeks.

But what struck me from this announcement was that it's nice she even had a choice about the amount of time she wanted to take for her paid maternity leave. Too many moms today lack the ability to take any paid leave at all - their employers won't allow it, nor do they have to because providing paid maternity leave to your employees still isn't required by law. With a Republican in the White House, it's likely we'd remain the only advanced nation in the world without a paid maternity leave requirement.

Take Carly Fiorina, for example. Just a few weeks ago, she boldly stated that she is against mandated paid maternity leave. Marco Rubio is right in line with her, as he's against federally mandated paid maternity leave as well. Conservative governor John Kasich actually voted against the Family Medical Leave Act while he served in Congress - twice! And Rand Paul refuses to even discuss his office's paid maternity leave policy when asked.

It's no secret that we as a country still have a long way to go when it comes to paid maternity leave. Right now the United States is the only advanced economy that does not have a paid maternity leave requirement. And it's not just paid maternity leave where we fall short. Women in this country still only make 78 cents on average for every dollar a man makes, and we still haven't raised the minimum wage, which would provide a pay increase for countless women who support their families (remember: two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women).

But we can be sure that with a Republican in the White House, women will be dragged even further behind on paid maternity leave, pay equity, and the minimum wage. Democrats are fighting for women's economic futures, and we won't stop until women have the support they deserve in and out of the work place.