When I am interviewed about paternity leave, my book, and other “working dad” issues, I always get the question about why, even in companies that provide paid paternity leave, many dads don’t feel they can actually take an extended leave without significant career consequences. My typical answer goes something like this:
On Friday, April 24th, I had the pleasure of participating in a fun and informative webinar, “The Modern Dad’s Juggle.” Dina Bakst and Phoebe Taubman from A Better Balance, a legal advocacy organization promoting family-supportive workplace and social policy, Matt Schneider, the co-founder of the awesome City Dads Group, and I discussed an array of topics regarding … Read more
This week, I’ll be at the Dad 2.0 Summit, an annual gathering of bloggers, brands and influencers trying to get the message out to the world about the importance of involved fatherhood, as well as how fatherhood is depicted in the media and supported in society. I’ll be moderating a panel on paternity leave and other workplace supports for fathers, with the goal of arming influencers with the information and motivation they need to spread the word on the importance and benefits of paternity leave. Here’s the message I hope to spread.
Paternity Leave is good for:
A few weeks ago, I asked a group of fathers to share the stories of their paternity leaves (or lack thereof). A few had very supportive employers with generous policies, some had nightmare situations that led to them find employment elsewhere, and most were unsupported and left to rely on their accumulated time off.
As tends to be the case with paternity leave- there is no standard benefit and experiences vary greatly (my paternity leave story is here). Here’s a round-up, with my thoughts at the end.
I was fortunate to have been able to spend the first few months of my son’s life at home with him and my wife. How this experience shaped me as a father and husband.
I didn’t exactly take a paternity leave. I’m a college professor and my son, Nick, was born three days after my last final exam of the Spring semester. Perfect timing (although we didn’t actually plan it that way). I was able to spend the summer on a “de-facto paternity leave” with my wife, Amy, and Nick as we all got to learn how this whole “baby makes three” thing would shake out.
Here are four ways I benefitted from the opportunity to be present during the first few months of Nick’s life:
The EEOC issued its new guidance on parental leave today. In it, they lay the basis for parity between company-offered maternity and paternity leave. In short, companies that offer mothers “time for care and bonding” beyond time for physical recovery/disability must also offer that “time for care” to fathers. This decision brings needed clarity to the emerging set of case law on paternity leave (see here, here and here) and is yet another indicator of the recognition of the importance of fatherhood and paternity leave.
This guidance is part of a larger and much more comprehensive document concerning pregnancy discrimination, disability and related employment concerns. You can read the entire document here. I’ve copied the relevant information below. After that is my analysis.
This Father’s Day, let’s call upon Congress to give dads and their families a truly meaningful present- paid parental leave. Please join me in signing a petition asking our elected representatives to pass the FAMILY Act.
I didn’t exactly take a paternity leave. I’m a college professor and my son, Nick, was born three days after my Spring semester ended. Perfect timing (although we didn’t actually plan it that way). I was able to spend the summer on a “de-facto paternity leave” with my wife, Amy, and Nick as we all got to learn how this whole “baby makes three” thing would shake out.
I was able to forge an immediate bond with my son, gain confidence as a new parent, strengthen my relationship with my wife, and emerge from the experience as a fully involved co-parent to Nick and equal parenting partner with Amy. In short, my paternity leave fundamentally shaped me as a person, parent, and spouse, and I believe it contributed to the strength and resiliency of my family.
That’s why I support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would enable new parents – including dads – to take 12 weeks of partially paid time away from work after the birth or adoption of a child. That’s why I’m working with CLASP and other advocacy and fatherhood organizations to help bring about this change. Today, I’m inviting you to join me in supporting this important bill by signing a petition.
Please share this Father’s Day card with every supervisor, manager and HR professional you know. Let them know that paternity leave is good for employees, families- and business!