Having watched the video on the blog, it only served to re-inforce what I've heard most women say concerning the maternity aspect... that the main problem is reconciling the interests of the business employer with the the needs of the prospective mother and family life.
I have heard of cases where women have been let go because the business they work for could not afford to continue employing them for no work due simply to economic factors, apparently heartless as this may seem.
But if these factors were planned for in advance, and the economic interests of the company were arranged to take account of the possibility of maternity among staff, the smooth operation of the company could continue without impacting on the prospective mother's life, or causing them to have more stress over and above the considerations of having a baby in itself
I recognise a point made in the video, that women often plan for this eventuality in their heads from very early on, even if the company does not... except, the planning does not extend to financial planning or employment arrangements.
So to accomplish this, I propose the following:
(1) That maternity leave (and possibly paternity leave) are planned for using the same method as you use to plan for retirement... that is, from the outset of the employment, the option to contribute from your salary to a 'maternity pension' to cover this period by using the accumulated contributions to pay for a 'surrogate' worker to adopt your position while you are away... differing from a normal temporary replacement in that they are working on the understanding that they are holding the job FOR YOU, and they are effectively place cards or 'reserved' employees who will relinquish the job back to you upon your return.
(2) that a Temporary workers agency be set up specifically for this purpose, with temps moving around from job to job filling in where women go on leave to have the child/children.
(3) That the possibility of doing this with the aggreement of the employer allows them to potentially make a contribution to the fund themselves... again, like the pension contributions, where the employer may match your own contributions, enabling the cost of the surrogate to be shared equally between employer and employee (tax exempt?)
(4) that the 'surrogate agency' establish a trust fund, into which these contributions are paid, accumulating even more value if it is a high interest fund, which can either pay for or offset the operational costs, or reduce the amount in contributions the mothers make into a collective fund such as this.
From the prospective mother's point of view, having been able to plan ahead in this way, financially, and without having to worry about the security of her job, and with the full knowledge of the employer in advance, a great deal of unneccessary stress could be removed... and if a 'slipstreaming' method, whereby the surrogate is engaged for the period from a week before the mother leaves to give birth until a week after her return, the a smooth transition and 'gettiing up to speed' will not disrupt the company operations.
Obviously there may be considerations regarding senior positions where confidential information or company secrets are issues, or high skill levels are needed, but if it is all planned in advance, then the employer, and the employee can interview the surrogate, and ensure suitability and competence, and 'pre-book' a particular surrogate worker advance, who could then be on 'yellow alert' for that particular position, perhaps even building a 'prospective client list' which would further allow the agency to manage resources.
So it would be part Temporary worker agency, part trust fund, part pension.