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Should women be paid while on maternity leave?

Updated on November 29, 2015

Should women be paid while on maternity leave

Mothers are an essential part to a newborns life especially in the first few months of its life. To say that a mother does not need to be paid during maternity leave is unfair and unjust. Why should I as a mother go a whole month and in most cases three months or more without pay just because I decided to bring new life into this world. The cost of diapers and formula alone in the first month is expensive especially since newborns are continuously growing every day. This can be extremely stressful to single mothers who do not have the necessary funds needed to take care of their child. In some countries such as Canada mother may get the first year off with added benefits after having their child. This shows that mothers should in fact be paid for maternity leaving seeing as how they play a key factor in the development of their child in the first few weeks. Persons who have argued in favor of this statement have stated that women who get paid are more likely to return to work than those who don't, the cost of living, it is an ethical move, and women have no choice but to take maternity leave.

Woman who get paid during maternity leave are more likely to come back ready to work because they were not “punished” for having a family. If I am a mother who is given 12 weeks off to take care of my child and I am not being compensated in some form by my employer then I may have negative thoughts towards my job who I thought was supposed to look out for me and my needs. This could drastically affect my work because as soon I get back not only would I be too tired but I would also feel unappreciated which could leave to unproductivity.

The cost of living in this country or any country is expensive. Now add a child that is continuously eating, pooping, and growing out of clothes faster than they can use them. Now imagine not having the necessary funds needed in order to ensure that your child is able to eat on a daily basis. This is why some form of compensation even if it’s only 50-% to 65% of my usual check will be of help as oppose to not receiving any benefits at all. Employers, especially those that have kids or who want to have kids have to realize that money is an important part of our day to day lives and without it our basic necessities will suffer.

To be ethical is to do something in good conscience that is morally right. To deprive a woman of funds during this time is the exact opposite of what it means to be ethical. How can an ethical person sleep at night knowing that they are withholding money from someone who might need it the most? Paying a woman during maternity leave is the right thing to do because it could beneficial to a company to have a happy employee coming back to work as oppose to one that holds a grudge.

Women have no choice but to take maternity leave especially since they are in no shape to work properly straight after the birth of their child. Persons who are for paid maternity leave argue that and I quote “Having a baby is a job on its own. Yes having a family is a choice but women don't have any other choice but to take Maternity Leave, and therefore should get paid (debate.org, n.d.).”


Even though there are people who are for this argument there are also persons who are against women being paid for maternity leave. They argue that it’s too much socialism, it’s too feministic, it’s not their responsibility, and paid maternity leave hurts everybody. It is too much socialism because and I quote “Paying women (or men) to reproduce is not fair to people who do not have or plan to have any children. To the contrary, people who choose not to reproduce and to have their genetic legacy stamped out for all eternity, are the ones who should be rewarded for making such an eternal sacrifice (debate.org, n.d.).”

They state that it’s too feministic because and I quote “No employer should be forced to pay someone to not work for them. It’s absurd that so many countries pay women to stay home for several months and collect a paycheck. Made worse, employers are usually forced to hire a temp to replace the woman on leave, so they are actually paying two people for one job (debate.org, n.d.).” They also state that it is not their responsibility because and I quote “It is not the tax payers nor businesses' responsibility to support new mothers who choose to have babies. It was their choice to have the baby and they must accept the consequences that it will have on their career. We all have to make compromises between family and work, that’s just how it works (debate.org, n.d.).”

The last point is that paid maternity hurts everybody. They argue and I quote “Paying for a worker that doesn't actually work for months is a huge burden on any company, however maternity leave hurts mother’s long term. According to CATO institute, when Germany tried implementing paid Maternity leave, they saw a huge drop in employment of women. When they cut the pay in half, employment of women rose 14 percent. This is no coincidence. It is important for mothers to spend time with their children, but there are better ways to make this happen. Increase in welfare or lower Martial taxes is a better solution (debate.org, n.d.).

There will always be persons who feel as though women should be paid while out on maternity leave because of the high cost of living these days. Others also argue that a women should not be punished just because they want to start a family and should therefore be compensated during this time so that when they return to work they will be rejuvenated and ready to work. However, there are other who believe that by paying women to be at home for months it will take money away for the company’s pockets. They also argue that it is unfair to pay someone who is not being productive. People will continue to argue over this issue but at the end of the day I believe that it is fair to give some form of compensation to women on maternity leave.

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