John Oliver used his Mother’s Day episode of Last Week Tonight to point out that, although American companies and lawmakers love to be seen celebrating moms, their appreciation doesn’t extend to giving women paid time off after giving birth. The U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only countries without any guarantee of paid family leave.
Unpaid leave has been available since 1993 (for those who can afford to take it), but even that faced opposition for being “anti-business.” This regressive approach has led to women burning all their sick days and vacation days, running up credit card bills while they take unpaid time off, and even leaving babies in the hospital while they go back to work for a few days.
But we do give moms free tchotchkes at baseball games one day a year, so at least we’ve got that going for us. Happy Mother’s Day!