What's Up with Maternity Leave and CEO Salaries?


Every country in the world guarantees new mothers paid leave -- except Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland, Papua New Guinea, and the United States. The most common explanation is that we just can't afford it. But when countries with less robust economies -- everywhere from Mongolia to Morocco to Mali -- find a way to provide assistance to new moms, we probably can, too. 
The Family and Medical Leave Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993, mandates at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents. "For years before we passed Family and Medical Leave, there was an outcry that the U.S. economy would not survive," Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told AOL earlier this year. "Not only did it survive, but it thrived." But these days, just over half of working women (51 percent) in the U.S. receive some sort of paid leave, though it's often just a few weeks. 
It makes us wonder, could companies really afford to pay employees a maternity leave more in league with the rest of the developed world? 
So we took a look at the parental leave policies of some of our nation's richest corporations as well as the salaries of their CEOs.  The CEO of General Electric took home $25 million, whereas that company offers a stingy two weeks of paid leave.  Interestingly, Google is the most generous toward parents, and pays its CEO the least on this list.  
illustration: Cooper MacKenzie
Top Image: Fotolia