We're one of the only countries where new mothers don't get paid time off. John Oliver looks at why.

"Paid maternity leave is a bit like having hockey on in the background at a bar. It's not hurting anyone, and a couple of people are actually really into it."

In his latest in a long line of epic segments, John Oliver made the case for paid family leave on "Last Week Tonight."

The whole thing is worth watching, but if you don't have the 12 minutes to do so, I've recapped it below.

The United States is one of very few countries in the world without any form of paid time off for new mothers.


Here in the U.S., new mothers are not guaranteed any paid time off after giving birth. However, they are able to take unpaid time off. While that's better than nothing, not all mothers can afford to forgo a paycheck, especially with a newborn.

As part of the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees can take that unpaid time off — if they meet some rather restrictive criteria.

FMLA only applies to people who have worked for the same employer for 12 months, have logged at least 1,250 hours in the past year (an average of at least 24 hours per week), and work for a company with more than 50 employees within 75 miles of the worker's location.

Also, this doesn't apply to contractors, freelancers, or employees at small businesses (fewer than 50 workers).

In 2013, NPR reported that this leaves roughly 40% of the workforce without even FMLA coverage.

Family leave is important to fathers, too. Sadly, the idea that women take care of the children while men work has made the prospect of paternity leave a challenge.

Because, you know, in some families, both parents work. In others, the mother works while the father stays home. Or it's a family with two mothers. Or a family with two fathers. Or ... well, you get the picture.

Society's one-size-fits-all, old-school approach to parenting just doesn't cut it anymore.

As an example of what happens when a father dares to take leave from work to be with his newborn child, Oliver pointed to Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets.

At the very start of the 2014 season, Murphy's wife went into labor with the couple's first child, their son Noah. Like most loving husbands and fathers, Murphy wanted to be there. To do this, he had to miss the first two games of the season (out of 162, mind you).


Daniel Murphy giving up two games of 162 doesn't seem like asking too much. Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images.

Critics came out in full force to criticize Murphy, including former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason and radio talk show host Mike Francesca.

Murphy handled it as well as could be expected. He even spoke at the White House Working Families Summit.

"When Noah asks me one day, 'What happened? What was it like when I was born?' I could have answered 'Well, [Washington Nationals pitcher] Stephen Strasburg hung me a breaking ball that day, son, and I slammed it into the right-field corner.' But I think it's going to go so much further in that I'm the one who cut his umbilical cord. And long after they tell me that I'm not good enough to play professional baseball anymore, I'll be a father. And I'll be a husband. So that was a reason on the front end that I wanted to be there for my wife and for my son." — Daniel Murphy

But let's get down to the real question: Why do we have such a flawed system? Simply put: lobbyists and legislators.

Oliver broke it down, showing what debates on the floor of the House of Representatives looked like in 1993 as FMLA was being discussed.

Now mind you, this was just to get the current, restrictive, 12 weeks of unpaid leave system in place. We haven't even touched on paid leave.

Did FMLA destroy the American economy as Reps. Ewing, Pryce, and DeLay predicted? No.

Other things may have but not FMLA.

What happens to the economy when we actually take it to the next level — paid leave? Pretty much nothing.

Like the FMLA, a California law offering partial paid leave managed to not destroy the state's economy.

Oliver sums it up best, pointing out the hypocrisy of being overtly, publicly "pro-mom" but then folding when it matters most.

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family