Feb. 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM ET
There's a lot that's great about the United States. Democracy: For all the flaws of our political system, it's still pretty awesome. Action heros: Sorry Jean-Claude Van Damme, you're no Chuck Norris. Really fattening, delicious foods: With eats like the Baconator Triple and Monster Thickburger on our side, who can deny American supremacy? U-S-A!
But parental leave policies? Not so much. If you want to get depressed, read up on maternity and paternity leave in Europe -- in the Czech Republic, for instance, moms can take three years of leave. Swedish moms and dads get 16 months to split between them.
U.S. parents get 12 weeks of unpaid leave -- and that's only if you work for a company with more than 50 employees, which excludes about half the work force. Now Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group that usually concerns itself with human rights violations abroad, is blasting paltry U.S. parental leave policies in a new report, which says the lack of paid leave has serious consequences -- fueling postpartum depression and causing mothers to give up breast-feeding early, for example.
What do you think about maternity and paternity leave policies? What was your experience like when you had kids? Was your parental leave long enough? Vote, and share your thoughts in the comments.