Documentary Review: ‘Zero Weeks’

Similar in lines to the Vox media documentary series Explained, ‘Zero weeks’ touches its subject with good explanation, engaging narrative, practical experiences and valuable information. Revolving on the topic of paid medical absence, Zero weeks stand for the number of paid holidays offered in the US which is equal to zero. With few provisions of unpaid leave and almost no safety bracket of paid medical absence, it poses great inconvenience to new parents, family members and children who need to take care of their aging parents. In such uncertain financial times, while there is no other choice, employees are forced to resume work, leaving their new born kids alone or sacrifice spending time with their loved ones.

Zero weeks does an incredible job of throwing light over this sensitive topic that is often taken for granted. Many young parents especially women are forced to compromise their career due to such unfair terms. And while there is no provision from the government or private employer, many Americans face the burden with mounting challenges. With aid of statistics and detailed information, makers of this documentary bring the matter to the forefront. It presents views and opinions of several authorities, volunteers, government officials and employers who are striving to find a solution.

Zero weeks takes the camera to several families who suffer due to the lack of good paid leave policies. From a young mother who was forced to resume work few days after giving birth to a cancer patient who did not receive the benefit of paid leave during her treatment, the documentary strives to offer real-life challenges that make it extremely difficult. With a detailed survey of similar policies all around the globe, Zero weeks makes an attempt to present the clear picture of our system in the US.

Besides presenting the challenges, it also shows what measures are being taken by few states and companies around the country. While bigger corporations have a thicker blanket to care for their employees, smaller family businesses suffer due to lack of substitutes and reserve money for the absentees. It forces viewers to think about the significance of paid leave and lack of the opportunity. And though one may not need the provision during their young career, it is important to be prepared.

As a knowledge-filled enlightening documentary, it succeeds in presenting its views. Zero weeks relates to every profession and job in the country because irrespective of the role, gender, position, salary and location, it is essential to take care of the employees. With such safety net, it increases the moral confidence and happiness quotient of the people who can take care of their families without any guilt.

It addresses the emotional, financial, political and social aspects of a controversial topic that does not seem to deliver any clear results so far. Watch the progress of this matter as several policies have been proposed by different policymakers throughout the country to offer at least 12 weeks of paid leave. An insightful look into paid leave and benefits, Zero weeks should change to a bigger number.

ZERO WEEKS will be available on VOD, including online platforms, November 2.

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