Maternity is a choice, not a disease. Responsible adults understand that a family must be responsible for their own choices, and the Company receives no work from those on leave. Why should the company be forced to pay for something that is not their responsibility and which does nothing for the company or its other working employees? If you are not producing anything, should you be paid for Nothing?
Maternity leave is an employment agreement and not a right. If both the employer and the employee agree to it, then yes, it should be paid. If not... then no.
The problem is power: a company can easily force bad terms in the general case, and the average people may not be able to complain. Things "mandatory" usually mean that the system is forced to be (more) balanced by an external power, and if things are really unbalanced (and the actors doesn't have the means to rebalance) then it is a required external pressure on the companies. In the case of the USA where companies own the people and run the politicians it seems obvious need to me. :-)
Why, it is already mandatory and paid half the company and half the government!
Oh you mean the world is the USA? ;-)
Greetings from Europe! :-)
(Technically Europe have a problem with demography: people have around 0.7 children on average per person and raising a child costs two fortunes. They obviously have good reasons to help people to start giving birth and keep it up for a short period. Here around in Hungary we had maximum 3 years(!) of extended maternity leave, it's been changed since [politicians stole all the money left to pay for this] but it's still around 6+6 months as far a I know.)
You want, demand, fairness in the workplace? Then no, one sex should not have benefits while the other sex can't get them.
I think that it shouldn't be mandatory but i think it is important in some job situations. It certainly shouldn't be paid for out of taxpayer money however