We all know maternity leave policies in the U.S. are pretty much abysmal, right? Well, John Oliver thinks so, too. On a special Mother's Day episode of "Last Week Tonight," Oliver expounded on the hypocrisy that is Mother's Day in the United States, where we celebrate all the hard work moms do, but also where paid leave from work for most new moms is hard to find.
He really puts it into perspective when he reveals that out of all the countries in the world, it's "just us and Papua New Guinea" that do not offer paid family leave. Papua New Guinea, people! (And if we are just talking about developed nations, we are the only ones with no paid leave policy.)
Oliver acknowledges that the Family Medical Leave Act does provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave and job security, but only if you work for a company with 50 or more employees and are a full-time salaried employee, not a freelancer or contractor — which effectively means 40% of women in this country are not eligible for maternity leave. And let's not forget it's unpaid, as is heartbreakingly exemplified by a new mom on the show who mournfully explains how she'll have to return to work when her infant is a mere 4 weeks old for financial reasons.
"This is not how it's supposed to work," Oliver exclaims. "Mothers shouldn't have to stitch together time to recover from childbirth the same way that we plan a four-day weekend in Atlantic City."
He further rants, "You cannot go on and on about how much you love mothers and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them." The ultimate message that Oliver says we are sending to our moms: We love you, but "get the f*ck back to work! .... You deserve the very best moms, you're just not going to get it."
Yes, so much yes.
Watch the brilliance for yourself:
And for this we'd like to say thank you, John Oliver, for saying what all working parents are thinking. We do deserve more.