John Oliver rips America's disgraceful maternity leave policy: Thanks for giving us life -- "now get the f*ck back to work”

The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that doesn't offer paid time off to new mothers

Published May 11, 2015 1:18PM (EDT)

   (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver)
(Last Week Tonight With John Oliver)

Happy Mother's Day! Here's a fun fact: The U.S. is one of only two countries in the world that doesn't offer paid time off to new mothers. John Oliver used Sunday's "Last Week Tonight" to bring attention to the stringent federal law which currently caps unpaid leave at 12 weeks, forcing mothers to use vacation and sick days in place of maternity leave to avoid losing their jobs.

Papua New Guinea is the only other country failing to offer mothers with workplace protection -- a pairing almost as unlikely as Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon in "Hot Pursuit," Oliver joked. "Separately, great -- but if it’s just the two of them with no one else, it makes you feel like one of them has taken their eye off the ball: Reese."

Oliver explained that while there are a few laws in place to help working mothers and guarantee unpaid maternity, these laws don't apply to nearly 40 percent of women in the workforce.

“So if a worker with no paid leave goes into labor at work, she better hope it’s on her lunch hour and her co-workers don’t mind if the break room gets a bit messy,” Oliver explained.

Thanks for your sacrifice, moms! Hope you enjoyed your weekend trip to Atlantic City -- I mean, uh, bringing a child into this world. "Now get the f*ck back to work!" Oliver added.

"This is not how its supposed to work," Oliver said. "Mothers shouldn't have to stitch together time to recover from childbirth the same way that we plan a four-day weekend in Atlantic City."

By Colin Gorenstein

Colin Gorenstein is Salon's assistant editor of internet and viral content. Follow @colingorenstein or email

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