Many parents who don’t receive paid time off for the birth of their newborn have started using crowdfunding to pay for maternity or parental leave.
For example, Texas mom Tanya Baker raised $1,225 of the $1,500 goal she set on GoFundMe.com for her leave. Baker has two young daughters and wanted to be able to spend the necessary bonding time with her new addition, a third daughter. She missed out on this bonding time with her other two due to not being able to take time off from work. She is the primary breadwinner for her family and had to return to work two weeks after her first two daughters were born because her job doesn’t offer maternity leave benefits.
Parental Leave Problem in the U.S.
According to MoneyTalksNews, if you seach “maternity leave” on GoFundMe.com, almost 1,500 results show up. With the exclusion of government workers, only 12% of Americans have parental leave benefits from their employers. Also, the U.S. is the only industrialized country that does not have mandated parental leave although there is a lot of documented evidence about the benefits including better health for mothers and babies and lower rates of postpartum depression.
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates employers to allow eligible employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave within the first year of a child’s life, but this law only applies to businesses with more than 50 employees. However, this amount of time off without pay is not financially possible for many people. Unfortunately, many people are ridiculed for seeking out GoFundMe pages to financially support their families.
GoFundMe’s media director, Kelsea Little, said that they are happy to be able to offer a service that allows parent to be able to raise the funds they need in order to spend time with their children.
If you’re expecting a new addition soon, you may want to consider using crowdfunding services to help you out. It’s also a good idea to bring up to lawmakers the need for better parental leave options!