Sunday was Mother's Day, and hopefully you remembered to do something nice for the woman that brought you into this world. But whether you treated her to a nice meal or bought her flowers, John Oliver explained during Sunday night's episode of Last Week Tonight that there is no gift that American moms would love more than paid family leave.
Every country in the world gives new mothers paid leave after giving birth except for two. Can you guess which ones they are? Papua New Guinea is one and the other is the United States. Wow, Oliver was right. That is as unlikely a pairing as Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.
However, it's not like there isn't any sort of legislation giving new mothers time off in the U.S. Federal law grants new mothers 12 weeks of leave. They just don't get paid for the time off. Oh, and there are a whole bunch of limitations on that as well, such as you have to work for a company with 50 or more employees, you have to have been at the company for at least a year and you have to be a full-time, salaried employee.
What this means is mothers often end up taking much less time off to be with their newborns than those 12 weeks, and they use paid leave they do have, like sick days and vacation days, because they just can't afford not to work. California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have passed legislation to give mothers paid family leave, but on the whole, this kind of reform has been met with great opposition from lawmakers, which seems to be unfounded.
Still, every Mother's Day we see a slew of commercials advertising products, sales and promotions with the message that we all love our mothers and would do anything for them. In that spirit, Last Week Tonight created a very special Mother's Day commercial that shows what we're really saying to mothers when we don't have paid family leave: "You deserve the very best moms. You're just not going to get it."
Watch the full Last Week Tonight segment below.