Finland just gave fathers 7 months of paid family leave while 85% of all Americans still get zero

The U.S. is the only industrialized country without a federal paid family leave policy.

The Family Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993, says that employers must let new parents take up to 12 weeks off, but there is no guarantee of getting paid.


Currently, the District of Columbia and nine states have laws offering paid family leave, Washington, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Oregon.

New laws in Connecticut and Oregon are waiting to go into effect.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics said that just 15% of private industry, and state and local government workers had access to paid family leave as of March 2017.

Paid family leave has been a big issue among the 2020 Democratic candidates with most favoring up to 12 weeks.

President Trump called for paid family leave in his State of the Union Address, but his plan is misleading. It allows new parents to collect a portion of their future child tax credits early in exchange for smaller payments down the road.

While people in the United States are fighting for this basic family need, the people of Finland are working to strengthen their programs for both mothers and fathers. Finland's woman-led center-left government has decided to give new fathers seven months of paid family leave, the same number allowed for women.

Women in Finland also get a paid month off at the end of their pregnancies.

Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonenvia YLE puhe / Twitter

Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said that the "radical reform" was created to increase the country's declining birth rate and to create greater gender equality.

"This enables better equality between parents and diversity among families," she continued.

"Over a longer term, it also improves equality in working life and in wages by directing fathers to use a larger proportion of parental leaves than before," she said.

Sweden goes even further with family leave than Finland.

The Swedish government says that parents of both sexes are entitled to 16 months of paid family leave at 80% of their salaries. Plus, there are extra days added if the parents have twins.

Dads are required to take some of the 480 days allotted to the family and the paid days don't expire until the child is eight years old.

The difference in how Finland and the United States treats their citizens says a lot about the country's values as a whole. We hear a lot about "family values" from politicians in America, but things would be a lot different if they actually valued family.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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