Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: U.S.' Poor Work Provisions For New Mothers, Japanese Mascots
May 11, 2015 9:18 AM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

This week: United Kingdom holds elections and in an upset David Cameron remains Prime Minister. Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen refuses to pay up on a bet that Manny Pacquiao would defeat Floyd Mayweather in the World Heavyweight Boxing championship. Russia holds a parade to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day, but is snubbed by many world leaders protesting Russia's treatment of Ukraine. And Now: The Continuing Adventures Of The Most Patient Man On Television (Steve Scully of C-Span's Washington Journal), this time versus profanity. Main story: Mother's Day, and America's awful leave provisions for new mothers, among the worst in the world (YouTube 12m). LWT provides a helpful commercial illustrating US business' actual opinions towards mothers. And finally, Japan and its weird love affair with cartoon mascots for districts and government agencies. Supposing they may be on to something, LWT presents their own mascots for 11 U.S. government agencies.

Telegraph article on Hun Sen's bet, with the beautiful tagline "Former Khmer Rouge commander insists Mayweather’s points win was unfair." The Khmer Rogue was responsible for Cambodian genocide.

Department of Justice: Scales the Blind Iguana
Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Hamilton the Pig in a Sailor Hat
Department of Health and Human Services: A Creepy Baby Doll with Hulk Hands Wearing a Tutu
Department of Transportation: Stunk, the Steampunk Skunk
NSA: Hoots, the NSA Owl ("He just wants to know whooo you've been talking to!")
TSA: Spike the Hedgehog Who Collects Four-Ounce Bottles of Shampoo and Swiss Army Knives
Deparment of Energy: Ramjam the Dancing Ram
Department of Agriculture: A Soybean
NASA: A (familiar) Space Gecko
ATF: (the confused-looking) Acclaimed Character Actor Bob Balaban
Department of the Treasury: Cornelius the Illuminati Pyramid (related to Bill Cipher?)
posted by JHarris (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Downside of the new option to watch HBO via HBO Now rather than just torrenting the episodes: John Oliver's not up until midnight in my time zone. Boo.
posted by asperity at 5:40 PM on May 11, 2015

I want the pyramid and the space gecko. Was the pyramid doing a handstand and cartwheels? I don't think pyramids should be doing that. Japan is awesome.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 8:28 PM on May 11, 2015

ATF: (the confused-looking) Acclaimed Character Actor Bob Balaban

I wish I hadn't spoiled myself for that reveal, because his appearance (and WTF expession) was the best.
posted by psoas at 9:51 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I had to unfollow both John and the Last Week Tonight twitter accounts. They post funny extras, but on Sunday night they spoil every reveal before the west coast airtime.
posted by Gary at 11:38 AM on May 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

The FMLA- mothers segment was heat-breaking. It really is ridiculous. I know so many milk rooms are tiny shame closets.

And having to go back to work so soon. I know very few that want to go back at 3 months. And my friends are privileged/lucky enough that they could afford the whole 3 months. A few wrangled part time for a period of time after their FMLA leave, which was still hard for them, and it it's an option for most people.

And heaven forbid that you work in a male dominated workplace that hasn't dealt with a pregnancy before and is too small to be required to follow FMLAs rules.

A friend in one such company ended up with them first agreeing to honor her time off, then agreeing to pay her part of her wages since they didn't have any formal disability plan in place (and were too small to be required to have FMLA apply to them). It all sounded really generous until they decided not to pay her like they said and wanted her back sooner than they originally agreed to.

I mean, how is unpaid, short maternity leave even a thing??
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:04 PM on May 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

12 weeks is not three months, though. It's close, but it's not a full three months. I worked up until my due date, but my baby was two weeks late, so I got to go back when he was 10 weeks old. And that still makes me really, really lucky that I've been at my job for 9 years, long enough that I had enough sick & vacation time to cobble together 12 weeks of leave.

That bit goes unmentioned, by the way. FMLA requires you to have been at a job for a year, but you have to have been at a job way longer than one year to accumulate the amount of paid leave that you need for 12 weeks. FMLA is also really really strict about which kind of leave you use. Fathers can only use a couple of weeks of sick leave, and the rest has to be vacation time. Mothers can use more like 6 weeks of sick leave (after the baby is born, considered recovery time from birth) and the rest has to be vacation time. That's a serious amount of time to save up.

Put this together with the fact that most daycares can't admit babies who are under 4 weeks old.

And put this all together with the rolling-back of abortion rights, too.
posted by aabbbiee at 10:19 AM on May 14, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also - it's not like FMLA resets right afterwards. If you have another family emergency and just used up all of your FMLA during maternity leave for the year, you're shit out of luck.

So, best hope that kid doesn't need any special attention between the three months and one year mark.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:21 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

However, they start counting that year when you file the paperwork (according to my by-the-rules HR lady at a public university). I submitted the paperwork when I was about 10 or 12 weeks pregnant. This not only meant that my paperwork was filed in case of an emergency situation during my pregnancy, it also meant that my FMLA time reset when my baby was about 6 months old. He is 9 months old now, and I should be eligible for FMLA again now.

Your mileage may vary on whether your HR department reads those rules the same way, but I recommend looking into it if you are in that position. It only means that you're eligible for FMLA again. It certainly takes longer than that to accumulate 12 weeks of paid leave. And definitely there was a big gap of 3 months of FMLA non-eligibility there.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:06 AM on May 27, 2015

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