peeples......I am not knowledgeable of the "maternity leave," or programs of this nature, in other countries. Therefore, I'm not certain what we are comparing to the U.S.A.
However, I find retief's answer to be fairly close to reality, if in fact, the "other" countries you refer to, are up to their eyeballs with government interference in all aspects of their lives. ( we seem to have begun to get "in on the running" in terms of this situation, but WE can defend ourselves and vote and demand our rights w/o being executed on sight.)
If an employer offers their employees a benefit package or allowances of any kind, maternity leave, being one of those, employees know this upfront, before accepting any job. These are not required nor mandatory, which is why we call them, "benefits." "Family planning," I believe is fair to say, falls under the category of common sense and personal financial responsibility....something very rarely taken into consideration by 90% of our citizens of child-bearing age.
If the vast majority of working couples with children. were granted their most desired wish, by the Genie-in-the-Bottle,,,,,,maternity leave-type benefits would not be of utmost importance to them. The reality is, statistically speaking.....working parents need and would much prefer, Employer Offered "Day Care" benefits and/or Facilities, at reasonable rates.
Point-in-Fact: My son & his wife have 3 children. For their Twin baby sons, Mon-Fri 8am to 5pm & their 6 yr-old daughter, M-F (After school ONLY ...2 hrs)......they pay $2000.00 per month. No, that is not a typo. Think about this. $24,000 per year. If both of these young adult parents were NOT professionals, with high-paying jobs.....just try to imagine.
My contention is: DAY CARE is the business to OWN, wouldn't you say?