Ask Jack: Paid Maternity Leave, Great Coffee + Job of the Week

photo of a pregnant woman in an ...

Via Twitter, @Abdul_HireRight asks:

Will the U.S. ever see paid maternity leave as a legally mandated benefit? Under a female president perhaps?

Oh, sure, it's easy to point fingers at the United States. But what about Papua New Guinea? How come they don't guarantee paid maternity leave, huh? Or Oman? Or... well, I guess that's it, actually. The U.S. does have 1993's Federal Medical Leave Act, mandating up to 12 weeks off to care for a new family addition or for an ill relative. Still, there's no promise that the leave must be paid, and the smallest businesses are excluded.

Paid leave does seem inevitable and the right thing to do in the U.S. (paternity leave too!) -- and at the absolute least, a strengthening of that 1993 act. But will it happen anytime soon? A female president, be it Hillary Clinton or someone else but not Taylor Swift until 2024 at the earliest, is likely not going to hinge her administration on women's issues. Though I do like to think they'd become an even more prominent part of our national discussion, and that's a good thing. If you care about the issue, don't sit around and wait: Contact Congress and the White House. Or write in to an AOL advice column. Oh wait, you already did that.

Lenore wants to know:

Why do you think in a job listing, in the paragraph about the company, that they would mention that they have great coffee? I'm serious about my job search and it seems like they are making light of it. I want a job, not a cup of coffee!

Now, you're sure you didn't apply at Starbucks, did you, Lenore? Ok, sorry, sorry, I know you've had it up to here with the zany hijinks. A "fun" job listing might be annoying, especially if you've been out of work for a while. Still, I'll defend this sort of ad, and admit that I've written one or two like it. I think it's meant to convey that the office is a friendly place, with a little personality. It's not a corporate-drone sort of setting. Do keep a couple of things in mind: 1) Just because a place says it's friendly doesn't mean it actually is and 2) Some "wacky" workplaces are definitely trying too hard and that can be annoying too. But cross those bridges if and when you come to them (i.e. at an interview) and for now, let that super-friendly coffee comment set the tone for your cover letter.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

Oh I am rocking the search terms on AOL Jobs today! This Inside Sales listing in Florence, Kentucky, lists both paid maternity/paternity leave AND free coffee! Is this the best job in the United States or what?!? OK, maybe sales or Kentucky isn't your thing, or you're just more of a tea drinker. That's the beauty of AOL Jobs: Do your own free search using terms related to your specific skills, interests, and region.

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