Here’s part of the reason I don’t live in the United States: Maternity leave and health care. Sometimes, I contemplate moving back to the U.S. – just to be closer to my in-laws and to be in a smaller, more close-knit community. But then I remember: Maternity leave and health care. And I chicken out. Where could I, where could anyone, find a job that:
1) Has flexible hours, so the kids’ school schedules aren’t a problem.
4) Will give paid bed rest if medically necessary.
5) Does not count said bed rest or maternity leave off of vacation or sick days.
6) Will allow telecommuting if it becomes necessary or desirable, without compromising the employee’s position.
7) Pays enough that hiring a private babysitter instead of using a daycare center won’t take half a mother’s salary.
Where can I, where can you find a job like this? It’s sad, but they’re pretty rare today. But, find me a parent who doesn’t want the best for the child. And find me a parent who won’t change careers just to get the kind of job mentioned above. I am not sure such a parent exists. I hope that Obama, now that he has been re-elected, will change some of these things for the better.
And in Israel? Basic health insurance is mandatory and subsidized by the government. Supplemental health insurance is optional. Once you choose one of the four health funds, they are obligated to cover you for the basics and for supplemental insurance if you choose (i.e., they cannot turn you down). It’s not perfect, but for the vast majority of the population, it is good enough. Some specific medications and treatments are paid for out of pocket, but most are at least partially subsidized. Bed rest, if determined to be medically necessary, is paid for. So is maternity leave up to 14 weeks. After that, to each his own.
However – telecommuting here is nonexistent, and flexible hours are a distant dream. One day, when we stop fighting wars to live, and start paying more attention to living, that will change. One day. Oh, well. We can’t have it perfect, can we?