The United States and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not guarantee paid maternity leave, despite the fact the US ranks second in the world for highest GDP, while Papua New Guinea falls at 139th.
In 1993, the US passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, ensuring 12 weeks of unpaid time off for full-time workers at companies with at least 50 employees, which is only about 60 percent of the entire American workforce. In early 2015, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum granting six weeks of paid parental leave to all federal employees.
Hardworking mothers, who don't fall into either of these categories are now left to fend for themselves during a time which should be filled with happiness instead.
According to BuzzFeed, women desperately have started turning to crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe to raise money to cover costs during unpaid maternity leave. A search for “maternity leave” on GoFundMe yielded more than 1,200 results," reporter Cora Lewis from BuzzFeed writes:
"Personal crowd-funders sometimes ask for help covering the cost of child care during an emergency, transportation to see a medical specialist, or to replace property lost during a disaster insurance won’t cover. Sites like GoFundMe, GiveForward, YouCaring, and “Generosity” (formerly IndieGogo Life) supply platforms for these campaigns, charging modest percentages for facilitating."
Anna Pepper from Lincoln Nebraska was able to raise roughly a grand through the website. Pepper's page read:
"I am horrible at knowing what to say or how to ask for help. I know that I can't thank you enough for your donation, big or little, every thing helps... I have since applied for every kind of help I could apply for, but don't seem to qualify for anything. If I could just get through these last couple of weeks and come up with enough to pay my rent so I don't lose my home, I will be back to work and back on track. I can not thank enough for any donation."
Unfortunately, it’s sad to see that a majority of these women haven't actually raised much money at all. The handful of women who have raised a few hundred dollars through donations know that it's still not enough to cover the grand expenses of having a new baby, much less a covering postpartum medical expenses and/or mortgages.