MARION, IL (KFVS) - On Monday, President Obama said the U.S. should offer paid leave for mothers of newborns.
"Many women can't even get a paid day off to give birth - now that's a pretty low bar," President Obama said at the White House Summit on Working Families. "That, we should be able to take care of."
While many companies offer paid maternity and paternity leave, it's not required by law. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires employers to give employees time off for medical or family reasons.
Kimberly Dotson from Carterville is a mother of two grown adults and has five grandchildren. She says employers should have the right to decide whether or not women are paid during maternity leave.
“I think that if fathers – My son in law get paid time off when he’s been blessed to have all of our children," Dotson said. "I’ve got five grandkids. But he always gets a nice paid vacation and helps his wife at home. And so, I think it’s already out there. We just have to use what’s there. I don’t think we need another law."
Cindy Lisewski of Carbondale has a two-year-old daughter and a newborn son. She says legislation that would expand.
“I think it’s a great idea," Lisewski said. "It’s hard work having a baby. Having to use sick days or have to take time off takes away from the household. And there’s a lot a lot of expenses when you first have a baby that you would have to pay for. So, it would be nice to have that extra money instead of losing money."
Chris Behan is a professor of law at Southern Illinois University. He has seven children ranging from six to 21 years old. He says the idea is great, but only if there is money to pay for it.
“I think if you could come up with a way to pay for it," Behan said. "Then, I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s great for the mother, it’s great for the child. I think it’s great for society as a whole to have that sort of thing. So I, I would be all for something like that."
Cynthia Henry from Carbondale says she's all for a law that requires paid maternity leave.
“Well, mother or father, a job is necessary to pay the bills," Henry said. "You know, they got to have time to get to know this little person and this little person get to know them."
There is no current legislation in the works that would expand the Family Medical Leave Act.