The long and short of maternity leave

A mother with her newborn.

Jeff Horwich: Yahoo's new boss, Marissa Mayer hasn't made any major moves yet as CEO. But she has continued making news -- largely because she's decided she'll go back to work just a few weeks after having a baby. That's re-ignited a debate that's as old as women in the workplace.

Dan Gorenstein reports.


Dan Gorenstein: There is no reason to play the "What-would-I-do-if-I-were-Marissa-Mayer" game, says Sharon Lerner.

Sharon Lerner: Whether she decides to take leave or not, the point is that she has the choice. And most everybody else doesn't.

Lerner, who wrote the book "The War on Moms," says most working mothers don't -- they need the paycheck.

That's why Ellen Galinsky at Families and Work Institute thinks the Mayer drama has hit a nerve.

Ellen Galinsky: Women's income has become indispensible to families. Twenty-six percent of women are earning more than their husbands these days. It's a different time.

Take New England Cable News reporter Lauren Collins who began planning as soon as she got her due date.

Lauren Collins: This is perfect, I can have the baby at the end of the summer. And come back right in time to cover the election.

But Collins says her bosses said slow down, take another month.

Collins: Everyone that I have talked to has said, there will be other elections. But your baby is only going to be a baby once.

Collins says 12 weeks is good; besides, she'll be back before the inauguration.

I'm Dan Gorenstein for Marketplace.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.

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