Advance Notice: Briefs

Senator says she knows taking 12 weeks of maternity leave could hurt her politically

By: - February 19, 2021 12:06 pm

Sen. Mallory McMorrow | Susan J. Demas

First-term state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) took to Twitter Friday to talk about her first few weeks of parenthood, stresses on families during the pandemic and her decision to take a full 12 weeks of maternity leave.

Women have suffered a disproportionate number of job losses during the COVID-19 recession. As the Advance previously reported, many parents, particularly mothers, in Michigan are facing competing stressors in taking care of their kids, doing their jobs and helping with virtual learning. McMorrow also wrote about the progress lost for women during the pandemic.

The United States is one of only a handful of countries in the world that doesn’t require paid parental leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates workplaces with 50 workers or more provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for some employees. McMorrow tweeted about the pressure women feel to quickly get back on the job after giving birth.

McMorrow, who won an open GOP seat in 2018, will be up for reelection in 2022 and she acknowledged her decision could hurt her politically.


During the 2018 gubernatorial campaign, now-Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faced some attacks for missing votes when she served in the Legislature after her daughter was born and while her mother was dying of cancer.

In 2019, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist made a point to talk about his decision to take paternity leave when his third child was born a few months into his first term.

“While my Michigan family now extends to everyone in our state in my role as lieutenant governor, it was important for me to be there with my wife and children during this precious time,” Gilchrist told the Advance in July 2019.

In Michigan, the LG takes paternity leave

Gilchrist also advocated for companies to offer paternity leave.

“Paternity leave allows fathers of newborns to strengthen the connection with their family, and I encourage every workplace to encourage fathers and mothers to take time to embrace these special moments.” 

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive.