Monday, February 6th 2017
When my son was born, I didn’t want to leave him. Unfortunately, my job didn’t offer paid parental leave, and our maternity leave was unpaid and very ambiguous. The policy was essentially ‘take the time you need, but come back as soon as possible.’ Since I just started working at my job when I found out I was pregnant, I didn’t have enough saved leave to take much time off after giving birth. After he was born, I tried to work from home and put some hours in at the office. I needed to work when I was so emotionally and physically tired that I couldn’t see straight. My work performance wasn’t what it should be, but I had to make money. It would have been amazing to have the security of two or three months paid leave.
Too many parents have gone through the same situation as me. We want to be home, especially right after our children are born. We needed more time to recover from childbirth, but our families simply can’t afford it. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between feeding their kids and taking care of them. My workplace has created our own paid parental leave policy for future parents, so we can take care of our valued employees. It would be great if the Legislature would take the same steps with us, to ensure Montana’s families can support themselves while taking care of a new baby.
Kelly Heaton – Letter to the Editor