According to the United States Department of Labor, only 12% of employees in the U.S. have paid maternity leave. That means most women have to decide between being at home to bond with their newborn and heading back to work to make a living. And some families struggling with unpaid maternity leave are creating crowdfunding campaigns on GoFundMe to help make ends meet while they aren’t earning a paycheck.
Since most American women don’t get paid maternity leave, they rely on the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA that protects their jobs for 12 weeks after childbirth or adoption, ensuring they can take an unpaid leave. For reference, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries out of 185 that don’t provide paid maternity benefits, according to the International Labor Organization.
So moms like Camille Walkin are using GoFundMe to raise donations to help cover expenses while she stays home to bond with her newborn. If she qualified for short-term disability at her job, she would have earned $500 a week, for eight weeks, which would’ve been $4,000 - much more than the $1,860 she raised on the crowdfunding site. But every little bit helps.
“Every time we get a notification that someone donated it’s just a little less stress on us,” says Walkin. “Other countries have such great programs for women, it makes my heart hurt that we have to struggle so much in this country, and you never hear about it.”