Ivanka Trump has positioned herself as a champion of her fellow working woman. The business executive made headlines with her speech at the Republican National Convention in July, where she made bold statements about her father’s commitment to women and working mothers. “As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all,” she said.
However, information came to light Monday that conflicts with her pro-mom reputation. The Washington Post reported that G-III, the business that designs and distributes her clothing line, does not offer paid maternity leave to its workers. Trump signed a licensing agreement with G-III in 2012, giving the company the right to create clothing under her name. G-III similarly works with other brands to produce their clothing, including Jessica Simpson and Calvin Klein.
The Post cited the experience of several employees, all of whom wished to remain anonymous due to fears of losing their jobs. One employee at the company said she used up all of her vacation days and spent her savings in order to take time off when she gave birth to a son last year.
G-III did not respond to requests for comment from the Post or Motto. A spokesperson for the Ivanka Trump brand, Trump’s own business, told Motto and the Post that they offer eight weeks of paid leave to new mothers. The spokesperson also told Motto that the company does not have limits on vacation days for its employees.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Employee Benefits Survey, 26% of employers offered some kind of paid maternity leave in 2016. Federal law mandates that companies give 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees who work at least 25 hours a week and have been with the company for at least a year in any 12-month period for the birth of their child. Only a handful of states have legislation providing any kind of paid medical leave.
Before we get up-in-arms about this apparent hypocrisy, it’s important to remember that Trump does not run G-III and therefore does not have any say over the company’s policies. While Trump licensed her name with G-III, which comes with an implicit association, it does not automatically make her or any of the other brands responsible for all the decisions made within G-III.
Trump herself has been an outspoken proponent of maternity leave. The businesswoman and mother of three told Business Insider in March that she believes maternity leave to be “enormously important.” On her personal website she has an article offering advice on how best to prepare for maternity leave, including tips on negotiating time off and recommendations on how to manage your time away.
Donald Trump offered a proposal Monday to “fully deduct” the cost of child care from income taxes. Hillary Clinton proposed in May that child care costs should be capped at 10% of a family’s income, through a combination of tax credits and subsidized child care. Both candidates have promised that further details on the costs and structure of their plans in the coming months
Donald Trump has been criticized for calling a lawyer “disgusting” in 2011, when she excused herself from a deposition to use a breast pump milk. Trump’s lawyer, who was present at the deposition, did not deny the comment, arguing instead that the candidate was objecting to the timing of the break.
When asked whether Ivanka Trump would appeal to G-III to change its policies, a spokesperson for Trump said, “She can only be responsible for her own business and try to set an example for others and she can’t control the policies of another company. Ivanka does deeply care about these issues and that is why she is continuing to use her platform to try advocate for a better policies for American women and families.”