To celebrate Mother’s Day, or as John Oliver called it on Last Week Tonight, “the only day of the year we don’t look at our phones and go ‘yeahhh not now, mom,'” Oliver called the United States to task for its failure to provide mothers with paid maternity leave.
According to Oliver, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries that do not give any paid maternity leave. While the federal Family Medical Leave Act guarantees women won’t lose their job if they take 12 weeks of unpaid leave, it only applies to women who are full-time employees in medium and large-sized companies. Freelancers, part-time, and contract employees and employees at smaller companies are not covered.
For Oliver, this is unacceptable treatment of mothers. “You deserve the very best moms, you’re just not going to get it.” In Oliver’s opinion, it’s especially appalling, because when California enacted a paid maternity leave law, they found the results overall to be akin to having hockey on in the back of the bar—”it’s not hurting anyone and a few people are really into it.”
This Mother’s Day Oliver encourages passing meaningful legislation instead of another Hooters gift card.