Coming Back to Work After Paternity Leave (UK version)

The use of paternity leave is still rare in the US, as taking time off work for family reasons is still frowned upon by many workplaces. Here is the story of one father from the UK, where fathers are legally entitled to a two-week paternity leave, who wrote about his experiences during leave and when he returned to work.

Guest blogger Jonathan Ervine of the Dad's the Way I Like It blog
Guest blogger Jonathan Ervine and son

A guest post by Jonathan Ervine. This article originally appeared at his great blog “Dads the way I like it” (uh-huh uh-huh I like it)

Here are three thoughts based on my own experiences of paternity leave:

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“Moments of Accommodation” An Interview with Major League Baseball on Paternity Leave

Paul Mifsud, Senior Counsel, Labor Relations for Major League Baseball was nice enough to speak with me about their paternity leave policy. One of Paul’s primary responsibilities is working with teams and the players on rules changes within the game of baseball, ranging from drug programs to instant replay to paternity leave. He’s also a busy working father of three. I greatly appreciate his time.

MLB All Star Home Run Derby 2013
In my opinion, MLB hit a home run with its paternity leave policy (Photo credit: gargudojr)

For the past few months, I’ve been reporting on players who use Major League Baseball’s Paternity Leave Policy and have repeatedly praised MLB for their high-profile support of working dads. Could you summarize Major League Baseball’s paternity leave policy?

Prior to the 2011 season, when Major League Baseball first implemented the Paternity List, most Clubs allowed players several days of paid leave upon the birth and adoption of a child, but were required to play short when the player was absent. The establishment of the Paternity List enables Clubs to replace players who are granted leave for a maximum of three days, while continuing to pay the players and maintain a full roster of active players during the leave period.

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MLB Paternity Leave Update: Joe Mauer of the Twins is a Proud Father of, well, Twins!

Minnesota Twins superstar catcher Joe Mauer is among 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 Mauers on their twins, and kudos to MLB for sending an important signal about the importance of fatherhood.

If there’s anything Joe Mauer knows it’s Twins!

MVP, batting champ, new dad to twins- Joe Mauer is supported by MLB's paternity leave policy
MVP, batting champ, new dad to twins- Joe Mauer is supported by MLB’s paternity leave policy

From HardballTalk.com:

(Thursday July 25, 2013) In Minnesota there’s a different Royal Baby watch going on. Joe Mauer was a last-minute scratch from last night’s lineup, leaving the Twins in California and flying back home to Minnesota because his wife went into labor with twins.

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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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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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MLB Paternity Leave Update: Cleveland Indians Outfielder Nick Swisher

Cleveland Indians outfielder Nick Swisher and his wife welcomed their first child on Tuesday (and as Yahoo! Sports notes, knowing Swish’s fun-loving style, he’s probably REALLY REALLY REALLY excited). He returns from a three-day paternity leave tomorrow.

New dad, Indians OF Nick Swisher, returns from paternity leave today (he can hit a little, too!)
New dad, Indians OF Nick Swisher, returns from paternity leave tomorrow (he can hit a little, too!)

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Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, Paternity Leave and a Step Forward

Marissa Mayer announced a progressive paternity leave policy at Yahoo! Especially considering recent Yahoo! decisions, these policies represent an important step forward for working dads everywhere.

Yahoo's paternity leave policy is a step forward (and somewhat makes up for Mayer's earlier telework decision)
Yahoo’s paternity leave policy is a step forward (and somewhat makes up for Mayer’s earlier telework decision)

Fair or not, when Yahoo! hired Marissa Mayer as their CEO, Mayer had to know that her status as a thirty-something first-of-her-generation new mother female CEO would attract a lot of attention, and that many would look past her impressive qualifications (degrees from Stanford, a staggeringly productive career and rise up the ranks at Google), and focus instead on the symbolic nature of her position- especially when it came to work and family considerations.

The early returns on that front, well let’s just say, were not so good.

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Oakland A’s Slugger Brandon Moss Takes Paternity Leave

The First Paternity Leave of the 2013 Major League Baseball Season- The Oakland A’s Brandon Moss

Oakland Athletics' Brandon Moss is a new dad taking paternity leave- he can also hit a little (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Oakland Athletics’ Brandon Moss is a new dad taking paternity leave- he can also hit a little (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It is only 72 hours, but it’s a step in the right direction. Baseball’s policy, unique among major sports, represents a formal endorsement of the concept of paternity leave.

Prior to this policy, players were often excused for a day or two by their teams- but it was totally at management’s discretion, and the team would have to play with the disadvantage of one fewer player on the roster until the new dad returned.

Now, teams can call up a player from their minor league system to replace the new dad on the roster for the 2-3 games he misses and the team cannot deny up to a 72-hour leave.

… and, of course, congratulations to Brandon Moss and his wife!

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