Bridey Heing
May 11, 2015 7:59 am

Here in the United States, yesterday was Mother’s Day. And although we love a chance to shower our moms with love and appreciation, which they deserve, there’s a larger conversation to be had around the way we treat moms and it’s super important. On this weekend’s episode of his show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver dedicated over 12 minutes to highlighting a pretty serious issue here in the United States: The lack of paid maternity leave.

As Oliver says in the segment, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only countries in the world that don’t mandate paid maternity leave. Although we do have 12 weeks of unpaid leave under federal law, the law only covers about 40% of working moms. That leaves the majority of working moms to piece together the time off they need, or give up pay for days they miss, or even lose their jobs. Although a few states have passed legislation to help moms by expanding maternity leave, we’re still nowhere near getting a federal mandate.

Oliver also points out that paternity leave is something the U.S. needs to rethink, and he’s right. Many countries throughout Europe have flexible family leave that can be divided between partners, or both mandated maternity and paternity leave. But on a holiday when we all think about the incredible role mothers play in our lives, his call-out on maternity leave is extremely poignant. As Oliver says, “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go on and on about how much you love mothers, and then fail to support legislation that makes life easier for them.”

Check out the whole segment below.

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