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Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

John Oliver Criticizes US Maternity Leave

PUBLISHED ON 05/11/2015

We talk about the United States's less-than-stellar parental leave policy a lot. And chances are you've already experienced it. But in honor of Mother's Day, John Oliver is spreading the word to his HBO audience on Last Week Tonight. And with a mix of humor and sincere frustration, we're hoping his message gets taken seriously.

"Here in the US, federal law grants workers just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and there are some stark limits on that," he says, talking about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which says your company is legally required to give you 12 workweeks of unpaid leave over a 12-month period after childbirth or adoption. But your company only has to adhere to that if it has 50 or more employees and you're a full-time employee who has worked there for at least a year. (On the flip side, companies can choose to offer more extensive, and paid, parental leave options, and ones like Blackstone Group, Vodafone and Yahoo have done so.)

So where does this leave us? In very small company.

"Just us and Papau New Guinea [provide no federally-mandated paid time off for new moms]. That's as likely a pairing as Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon," says Oliver, referring to the pair's new film Hot Pursuit.

"Mothers shouldn't have to stitch together time to recover from childbirth the same way that we plan four-day weekends in Atlantic City," he says. And Oliver thinks new dads need more perks too.

"I don't mean to suggest that this is an issue that only mothers should have to think about. Family leave should be thought of as an option for both parents," he says.

Watch the full video below. And let us know which MLB Mother's Day gift you like best.

PHOTO: YouTube