Ivanka Trump is trying her darndest to convincingly inhabit the persona of a paid family leave advocate, but her disguise may have been foiled by the company that designs her clothing line. The G-III Apparel Group, which has been designing and distributing Ivanka Trump dresses, suits, and jeans since 2012, doesn’t offer any paid maternity leave to its employees.
The employee of nearly four years, a registered Republican who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job, said she became pregnant last year and was dismayed to learn the company allows just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the legal minimum for employers with more than 50 workers. So, she burned her vacation days, drained her savings and then relied on her husband’s income after giving birth to her son.
“It’s hard enough emotionally to come back to work right after having a baby,” said the designer, who works for another brand at G-III. “But to know you’re returning to a company that doesn’t value your choice to be a mother makes it harder.”
“Gender is no longer the factor creating the greatest wage discrepancy in this country. Motherhood is,” Trump said in her RNC speech. “As a mother myself, of three young children, I know how hard it is to work while raising a family. And I also know that I’m far more fortunate than most. American families need relief. Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties. They should be the norm.”
While Trump spoke those words, she was wearing an Ivanka Trump–branded dress that was made in China but designed and distributed by Americans who get no paid time off when they have a child. Five current and former G-III employees told the Post that G-III only offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after one year of employment, the minimum required by federal law.
G-III has helmed Trump’s clothing line since 2012; the company’s vice chairman has said she is “very involved on a weekly basis” with designs. According to the Post, Trump’s own company employs just 12 people and offers women eight weeks of paid leave after having a child.
Trump doesn’t make the HR policies of companies she enlists as partners, and it’s possible—probable, even—that she didn’t know anything about G-III’s nonexistent family leave policy when she signed the 2012 licensing agreement. But for somebody who’s taking great pains to make herself out to be a political advocate for better treatment of working mothers, this comes off as a careless, hypocritical move. If Trump wanted to be taken seriously as an advisor to a presidential candidate on matters of parenthood and women in the workplace, she should have made sure she wasn’t enriching companies that benefit from shorting their workers necessary support. It’s almost like she’s taken cues from a politician who promises to punish U.S. companies that manufacture goods overseas while heading a company that makes its jackets, ties, and cufflinks in China.