Surprise Of The Day: Fox News And Megyn Kelly Defend Paid Maternity Leave

8 Aug

I usually disagree with just about everything Megyn Kelly says or stands for. The 1 PM host of America Live, the Fox News Channel’s mid-day opinion show, usually has Kelly spewing right-wing talking points and propaganda. But today something CRAZY happened.

For some background to today’s situation: a couple of months ago Mike Gallagher, a Fox News contributor and talk radio host of The Mike Gallagher Show was hosting another Fox News host, Chris Wallace on Gallagher’s radio show when he called Kelly’s maternity leave a “racket.”

GALLAGHER: She’s ni — and she does a good job. She really -when is – and Megyn’s on, still on maternity leave, right?

WALLACE: Yeah.

[CROSS-TALK]

WALLACE: What do you mean, you complaining she’s, she’s bonding with her baby.

GALLAGHER: What a racket that is. I mean, men don’t get to bond —

WALLACE: What a racket?

GALLAGHER: Well, how much time does she get off to have to —

WALLACE: Probably three months.

GALLAGHER: That’s unbelievable. Do you think you’d get three months off when – how much time did you get off when your kids were —

WALLACE: Let me tell you. When my children were born, one week was all I could stand. Then I wanted to come back, and that wasn’t even very happy about that —

GALLAGHER: Nice, that’s great

Today, when Kelly returned, Gallagher was one of her guests and she had some choice words for him. When Gallagher couldn’t defend his remarks, this exchange took place:

KELLY: Are you doubling down? No, no, no the, no, are you not taking those remarks back? Is maternity leave, according to you, a racket?

GALLAGHER: Well, do men get maternity leave, Megyn?

KELLY: Guess what, honey, they do. It’s called the Family Medical Leave Act. If men would like to take three months off to take care of their newborn baby, they can.

GALLAGHER: All right. Let me give you an explanation. I was drinking that day —

 

KELLY: Now you’re more along the path I expected.

KELLY: Just in the case you didn’t know, just in case you didn’t know, Mike, I want you to know that the United States is the only country in the advanced world that doesn’t allow pay, doesn’t require paid maternity leave. Now, I happen to work for a nice employer at gives me paid maternity leave.

GALLAGHER: Yes, you do.

KELLY: But the United States is the only country that doesn’t require paid maternity leave, and what is it about getting pregnant and carrying a baby nine months that you don’t think deserves a few months off so bonding and recovery can take place, huh?

GALLAGHER: I even think one of the people on your staff said, “Oh, Mike, she didn’t even notice. Megyn isn’t even aware you said this.” I said; “let’s not bring this to her attention.”

KELLY: You can’t answer the question because there is no answer, my friend.

What was surprising for a frequent viewer of Fox News such as myself was not only Kelly’s defense of paid maternity leave but Fox News’ granting of said leave. Kelly isn’t exactly a champion of the causes of women, and anyone who watches Fox for more than a few minutes can easily figure out the network isn’t really a fan of women’s rights. But Kelly, having a personal experience of the necessity of paid leave, not only defends the practice but also defends a father’s ability to take paid leave as well.

It has been noted that one of the reasons women don’t get higher-paying jobs is because of the “liability” of child birth that would keep them out of work—a  practice known as pregnancy discrimination. As much as it pains me to say, more companies should begin to follow the lead of Fox News and Megyn Kelly. Awareness that paid leave is not a liability but a necessity for new mothers and fathers will hopefully end the stigma for women and men who decide to take the time to bond with and care for their newborns.

Today, Fox News and Megyn Kelly, I applaud you. Maybe you can take on fair pay next?

 This post is brought to you by Salvatore, who works for PoliticalCorrection.org. In the interest of political correctness, we must tell you that opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect those of PoliticalCorrection.org or MediaMatters.org (althoughttoday, all progressives might applaud Fox News and Megyn Kelly).

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10 Responses to “Surprise Of The Day: Fox News And Megyn Kelly Defend Paid Maternity Leave”

  1. Maureen August 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    mind = blown.

  2. Chmedly August 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    So, would I be able to assume that you don’t believe that paid maternity leave affects the profit of a company? GDP? Should paid leave be required of all businesses, small or large? I’m just curious because I’m not very educated on this subject.

    • SF August 23, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      To first answer your question, I’m sure paid maternity leave will affect the profit of a company in some way, just as mandating someone work 18 hours a day for less than minimum wage will affect a company’s profits– that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

      Obviously less productivity by a company will have diminished factors on GDP. I’m sure not terribly large given how many women get pregnant in each company at any given time. In addition, as the CAP article below will explain, new parents are still going to spend money in the economy whether its to buy baby food or diapers thereby the economy will still reap economic benefits.

      Lastly, my personal opinion is that paid leave should be required of all businesses, small or large. I think that if there is a company with two employees they would have enough communication between the two that they can work out how much leave will be taken, but there should be a mandatory standard minimum that is offered. For a more full explanation with someone who has degrees in this sort of stuff see below:

      http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/06/oleary_feppla.html

      As a last note, the US and Australia are the only two industrialized nations that don’t give mandatory paid leave. I’m all for being a trend setter but this isn’t a trend I’d like to be leading in.

      http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-26-maternity-leave_x.htm

  3. Chmedly August 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Hmm. My small business (the economy as it is) would probably go under if I had to pay an unexpected 3 month leave. I wonder if my insurance company has a policy for that. It’s not unlike some other unexpected expense that can be insured against. I also wonder, and I’m sure there are statistics on this, how many women don’t return after their leave. That’s another loss for the company, especially after paying for training of that employee. Another thought is what about the employees that don’t “get pregnant”? Lets say I have 2 employees that work for 10 years. One of them has 2 children during this period and takes a total of 6 months paid leave. The other employee doesn’t have children at all. What do I tell that employee? Or, do I have to pony up 6 months of pay for them as well? Wow, this is a complicated issue, especially I think for small companies. Sometimes I wonder if we should have a law that outlaws small companies. There’s a tipping point where the paperwork and obligations get too complicated for a small outfit.
    Thanks!

    • SF August 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      I appreciate your comments! It is a complicated issue that obviously requires a lot of discussion. However, I’d like to clear a few things up.

      I would not call 9 months of pregnancy unexpected. You would have 9 months to train a temporary staff member to do the job that the women or man on paid leave would do. While harder for small businesses it can be done. Companies that have people who unexpectedly become disabled and have to go on temporary disability would have to adapt in a similar way. In addition, some companies have a policy that if you are going to take leave that you have to return to work for XX number of months afterward to avoid the dilemma you speak of.

      Second, pregnancy obviously has different effects on a family than not having any children. There are extra costs assumed, extra burdens, extra time spent on children that the other employee in your scenario would not have to deal with. That’s their choice, just like getting married is someone’s choice as well. We don’t tell single people that they get marriage benefits, and none of the single people (at least not in the circles I run in) are asking for marriage benefits.

      Your example also assumes that the 6 months of pay ponyed up is for some type of vacation. Whereas the women or man taking maternity leave is actively recovering or participating in the early stages of their child’s life, the other employee would not be doing the same thing. Therefore, there is an inherent difference in paid maternity leave and just paying someone for 6 months to do as they please.

      If small companies were exempt from these policies, I don’t believe they would get the same caliber of worker. There is a reason why those who can chose generally work for companies with great benefits.

      Understanding the difficulties small businesses face (my father is a small business owner with 4 employees), he gives paid leave for maternity leave, elder care, and a generous vacation package because he feels that its the right thing to do.

  4. RL August 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    What a great idea! Let’s just get rid of small companies! I mean, that’s what all the other developed countries with maternity leave policies have done, right? Didn’t they get rid of all the small companies? I just KNOW they did. How else could they survive?

  5. Chmedly August 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    RL, I recognize your sarcasm but do you have information on how small businesses handle this issue in countries with mandatory paid leave? btw, I just read that other article that was linked and it mentioned upwards of a year of paid leave in some countries. I do not understand how a company of a few employees could handle that kind of payout for that period of time. Does socialized medicine (another thing we probably need in this country) play into this?
    Thanks,

    • SF August 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      According to this site (which I found by clicking the first thing I found on google with the keywords paid maternity leave and pay) in England the government subsidizes some of the cost of paid maternity leave:

      http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1080898273

      I also assume that like many laws in the US, there are ways for small businesses to apply for exemptions under certain circumstances or to have government subsidize the plan as is the case in England (or something like a tax deduction on year end business taxes I’m sure there are tons of things our creative Congressional leaders could come up with)

  6. Chmedly August 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    My google searches using ‘pregnancy leave insurance for employers’ and ‘canadian paid pregnancy leave’ were not as fruitful. I suspected there was some government assistance for the smaller members. The other question is the ratio of small businesses per capita (or GDP) in the US vs Canada and the European countries in question. I’ve heard rumor that something like half of the US economy is small businesses. If they’re all being subsidized this way via government… Anyway, thanks for alerting me to this. As a gentleman I would prefer to pamper an expecting mother (and her husband) as much as possible. It does take a village after all.
    Thanks!

  7. Seriously... August 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    To say you have 9 months to train a temporary employee is all well and good, except for the fact that during those 3 months you are paying double wages! That could easily put a small business under, then nobody has a job.

    Having a child is a choice, especially based off the sentiments of this group when it comes to family planning, so if you choose to have a child why should you get 3 months of free money from a company that gets no benefit from you having a child. It is totally reasonable to grant 3 months unpaid leave if you choose to take it, but paid would be detrimental to companies both small and large.

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