Work-Family Legal Update (Viva Rhode Island!)

Rhode Island becomes the third state to require paid parental leave, and a bill that would support and protect employees who request flexibility and workplace family accommodations has been introduced to Congress. Here’s my analysis of these legal issues.

Viva Rhode Island for becoming the 3rd state with required paid parental leave
Viva Rhode Island for becoming the 3rd state with required paid parental leave

(Quick disclaimer: I am not a lawyer*)

It is no secret that the US is way behind all other industrialized countries in terms of work-family policy. As I reported last week:

As you can see in this chart, we’re one of 4 of 178 countries (and the only Western or industrialized nation) to not have a law mandating paid parental leave. US law only requires that a new parent can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and have their job held for them, through the Family and Medical Leave Act). Only three US states have mandated paid parental leave. Over 50 countries require paid paternity leave; the US, not so much.

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Regular Exercise Can Help Us Be Better Dads

Part 1 of a Series on Stephen Covey, Personal Renewal and Fatherhood

Many busy dads can’t find the time to exercise. But we need to make the time to take care of our bodies, so we can be better, more effective fathers. As Stephen Covey says, we need to do the important, not just the urgent!

Exercise and fatherhood all in one!
Exercise and fatherhood all in one!

Like you, I spend a lot of time at work, and while at home, I tend to put my family’s needs first. But it would be better- for everyone- if we took some time to focus on replenishing ourselves.

The Important vs. The Urgent

Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is the most useful book I ever read. In it, Covey writes about spending a few hours every week on personal renewal, what he calls “sharpening the saw.”

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Prince William to Take Paternity Leave When the Royal Baby is Born

Update- Royalbaby is born! everyone is healthy. Congrats to the happy couple.

Prince William will take a two-week paternity leave from the Royal Air Force upon the birth of RoyalBaby. Fathers in the UK are legally entitled to a paid two-week paternity leave. What British law and the Prince’s public act can mean for US dads.

Cheers to the happy couple! I hope William's paternity leave can be a time of important family bonding (AP Photo/ Nicolas Asfouri)
Cheers to the happy couple! I hope William’s paternity leave can be a time of important family bonding (AP Photo/ Nicolas Asfouri)

With the UK (and plenty of us here across the pond) awaiting the birth of Alexandra or James, Prince William is about to make work-family history, as well.

From the NY Daily News:

After the arrival of the royal child comes the royal paternity leave.

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Escaping the Middle-Class Parenting Trap

What one stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and his family are doing to create a better long-term work-family balance, with all the trade-offs and sacrifices this entails.

A few months ago, Oren Miller wrote the following on his excellent blog, A Father and a Blogger. He was nice enough to let me repost it here, and even provided a short follow up to the article. He’s a great writer, and a good fellow-dad-blogger friend. Enjoy:

Escaping the Middle-Class Parenting Trap

Guest blogger Oren MIller shares his work-life story
Guest blogger Oren MIller shares his work-life story

Our family is going through some difficult changes now.

To escape our ironic lifestyle, to be able to see her kids more than a tired hour per day, my wife has found a new job. This job will allow her to work from home a lot, which is the good part. The bad part is that there will probably be a lot of travel, too. And the worst part is that now, because it’s a new job, she must leave home and travel to the end of the world (Seattle), and stay there for a couple of weeks (then return to Baltimore for a week, then again to Seattle for even longer).

It’s not going to be easy for me, it’s not going to be easy for the kids, and it’s definitely not going to be easy for my wife, who will have to settle for Skype to see her kids.

But it’s worth it.

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Downshifting: 5 Ways to Slow Down Your Career for Family

“Downshifters” are those who eschew the career ladder and choose alternative paths that open up more time for family or other pursuits. For many, the trade-off is more than worth it. This article discusses 5 common types of downshifting.

“The problem with winning the rat race is… you’re still a rat” –Lily Tomlin

For me, plateauing my career opens up more time for family.

When we think about career paths, we often think about climbing the ladder- stepping up our career one rung at a time to positions of greater status, demands, responsibilities and financial rewards. Career advancement is great, but it often comes at a cost- to mental and physical health and especially to time spent with family.

Perhaps there’s another way. A way that opens up time for a more well-rounded life.

Life in the (slightly slower) Lane

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MLB Paternity Leave Update: Jason Kubel, Michael Bourn and Miguel Gonzalez

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel, Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Bourn and Baltimore Orioles pitcher Miguel Gonzalez are the latest ballplayers to avail themselves of Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy- the first of its kind in major US sports. Congrats to the Kubels, Bourns and Gonzalezes, and kudos to MLB for sending an important signal about the importance of fatherhood.

Cheer up, Jason. You have a beautiful new daughter and the support of your sport to spend her first few days with her
Cheer up, Jason. You have a beautiful new daughter and the support of your sport to spend her first few days with her

Add three more proud papas to the list.

To my knowledge (and I’m sure I’m missing a few), Kubel, Bourn and Gonzalez represent the fourth, fifth and sixth prominent MLB players this season to avail themselves of Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy- the first formal policy among US major league sports (and yes, I’m even including hockey and MLS soccer).

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The Single Best Way To Be A Great Dad: BE THERE

“When your kids become adults, how do you want them to remember their childhoods with you?” Almost all fathers want to be remembered as being a consistent positive presence in their children’s lives. Making this happen requires aligning our actions with our priorities.

I hope Nick can look back on his childhood and know that I was there for him (just like I can look back on time with my dad)
I hope Nick can look back on his childhood and know that I was there for him (just like I can look back on my childhood with my dad)

Modern Dad Workshops

John Badalament is a true pioneer in work-family issues for dads. He wrote a great book, made a documentary, and writes and conducts dads workshops all aimed at equipping men to be better, more present fathers. I had read his book a long time ago, and was happy to have met him in person at the Thirdpath Institute Summit this past May.

In his workshops, he asks this question as a prioritization exercise:

“When your kids become adults, how do you want them to remember their childhoods with you?”

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Listen to Fathers, Work and Family Over the Holiday Weekend

“Baby, if you ever wondered, wondered whatever became of me- I’m living on the air…” First, a happy 4th of July weekend to you all. I hope you have the opportunity to soak in some family time during the long weekend. I’ll be taking the weekend off , but first perhaps I can provide you … Read more