Parenting

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez On Maternity Leave: We Aren't 'Serving Our Women'

09/30/2014 01:34pm ET | Updated September 30, 2014

In a HuffPost Live interview Tuesday, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez echoed what he and other members of the Obama administration have been pushing for months: it's time to catch up to the rest of the world and offer women in the United States paid maternity leave.

"We are the most powerful nation on the planet, economically, militarily and otherwise," Perez told host Marc Lamont Hill. "We lead on so many things, but we don't lead on leave. The challenge here is that our economy is moving in the right direction, 10 million jobs over the last 52 months, but we need to do more. We are not serving our women and our families well."

Perez offered comparisons to the United Kingdom and Australia, two countries with conservative governments that offer paid maternity leave. Republicans here in the U.S. oppose the notion, however, as the last time the House voted on the measure not a single GOP member supported it.

"What we're doing here in America is we're making women choose between the family they love and the job that they need. No other nation on the planet is making these choices," Perez said. "In other countries, they've put politics aside and looked at the facts. When women succeed, the world succeeds. We're losing sight of that here in the USA."

Watch the rest of the clip above, and catch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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Maternity Leave Around The World (2012)