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MSNBC's Katy Tur speaks out about why paid parental leave is so important

The "Katy Tur Reports" host, who welcomed her second child in May, returned to work on Monday.
/ Source: TODAY

MSNBC’s Katy Tur returned to the news desk Monday after welcoming her second child in May.

The anchor, who shares kids, Teddy, 2, and Eloise, 6 months, with her husband, Tony Dokoupil, knows she's lucky to have had so much paid time to recover and bond with her infant.

"This morning, however emotionally hard, wasn't nearly as hard as it is for the vast majority of other parents. I had 6 months of mostly paid leave and the means to take some unpaid time," Tur wrote on her Instagram story. "I'm going back to a stable job with great benefits and leaving my kids with a kind and loving nanny. Being a mom — especially to a newborn — is the hardest thing I have ever done."

"I can't fathom having to go back to work in those early months when no one is sleeping at all. I can't fathom leaving a month old at a crowded daycare," she continued. "But that's what so many parents do. It's unfair and it's outrageous."

In the United States, 1 in 4 moms return to work within 2 weeks of having a new baby.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is one of the only developed nations that does not require employers to provide any paid leave to new parents. At one point, President Joe Biden proposed guaranteeing workers 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, but the plan has since been whittled down to four weeks.

Tur called it “the barest of bare minimums” while speaking with Parents.

“It feels like one of those issues that has all the agreement it needs, but still can’t make it through Congress,” the “Katy Tur Reports” host said. “That is the definition of a broken system. Everybody wants something and it’s still not happening — what’s going on?”

Tur noted that globally, the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks. In the U.S., seven out of 10 men go back after 10 days or less. Tur’s partner, who is a co-anchor on “CBS This Morning,” had six weeks of leave, but she said it’s still not enough. Dads need more time to bond with their babies, Tur said.

“Because I have been home every single day, I have by default become kind of ‘lead parent,’” she explained. “And not because of any of [Tony’s] choices. He is very, very hands-on, but in terms of when does Eloise need to eat, what is she eating, what does her cry mean, and why is Teddy screaming — all those things fall to me because I’m spending the most time with the two of them.”

This is not the first time that Tur has spoken out about the importance of paid parental leave. Her son, Teddy, was born in 2019, via an unplanned C-section. The surgery made it extremely difficult to breastfeed and impossible to sit up without assistance. Things only got worse when the surgical cut became infected. At one point, Tur experienced postpartum hallucinations.

"I got a lot more paid time off to figure it out than the majority of moms in this country," Tur said. "Tony took more time than at least 70% of fathers out there... Parents need time with their babies. Babies need time with their parents. And moms need support. And if that support is coming from a partner, that partner should get equal time off."

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