What are the advantages and disadvantages of maternity leave? Which side do you feel outweighs the other?
Laws and social practices surrounding maternity leave vary widely from one country to another. Equally varied are the positions people take on whether maternity leave brings with it more advantages or disadvantages. A conclusion will be reached following this essay’s discussion of these two positions.
On the one hand, the benefits young families receive from paid work leave are evident. For one, it gives new mothers a chance to properly prepare for the birth of their child and recuperate afterward. Not having to shoulder the financial burdens that come with taking unpaid leave, mothers can focus entirely on providing a healthy home environment for their new baby. Thus, the advantages that come from maternity leave are obvious.
However, paid maternity leave can also cause some hesitation towards the hiring of women, particularly among high-pressure corporate positions. For example, often companies in Shanghai will ask job seeking women whether they are married or not. By hiring unmarried women, these firms hope to circumvent the need to provide parental leave should one of their married employees decide to start a family. As these sorts of practices are not isolated to only Shanghai, it is clear that maternity programs have the disadvantage of indirectly encouraging sexism.
Following this look, it is difficult to say the disadvantages of maternity leave outweigh the advantages. Thus, I feel programs that offer new mothers paid work leave provide more benefits than drawbacks, and I hope that parental leave programs will continue to develop and improve into the foreseeable future.
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