Working Dads and Parental Leave: My MSNBC Interview

One of the reasons I wrote The Working Dad’s Survival Guide was to help draw attention to the challenges faced by working dads and how corporate and public policy can address them. So I was thrilled when I was asked on to MSNBC to discuss my book, working dads and parental leave. Please click below to … Read more

Why I Support A Better Balance

I am proud to support A Better Balance by donating a portion of every sale of my book, The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, to this amazing legal advocacy organization that is leading the charge for more family-supportive workplace and social policy.

I am proud to support A Better Balance
I am proud to support A Better Balance

I asked Dina Bakst and Phoebe Taubman of A Better Balance to write a short summary of their work and have posted it here. Please consider joining me in supporting their important work.

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EEOC Issues Guidelines on Parity for Maternity and Paternity Leave

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.

Parity for fathers in parental leave is one step closer thanks to new EEOC guidelines!
Parity for fathers in parental leave is one step closer thanks to new EEOC guidelines!

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.

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Paternity Leave for All Dads! Join Me and Support the FAMILY Act

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.

We all deserve paternity leave- time to bond and develop as parents. Please support the FAMILY Act
We all deserve paternity leave- time to bond and develop as parents. Please support 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.

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The Time is Right For the FAMILY Act- Paid Parental Leave

The FAMILY act would create a national policy of paid parental leave. Why I think this is a great idea.

I was extremely fortunate to spend the first few months of Nick's life at home. I hope that more dads become able to take paternity leave to have similar experiences
I was extremely fortunate to spend the first few months of Nick’s life at home. I hope that more dads become able to take paternity leave to have similar experiences

When I was on NPR last week (you can listen here) to discuss paternity leave, we took lots of great phone calls from listeners. Most callers lamented their lack of available paternity leave.

One caller, however, had lived in Montreal, where new dads are entitled to up to 5 weeks of paid leave, with wage replacement up to 70% of one’s earnings. It is no wonder that more than 80 percent of new dads in Quebec take paternity leave. (for more on the benefits of paternity leave, see here)

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Expert Perspectives: Legal Insights into Josh Levs’ Paternity Leave Discrimination Case

One of the things I love most about this blog is the opportunity it has given me to have conversations with so many smart, knowledgeable people. I have learned more from this blog than anyone, thanks to your comments and willingness to engage and network with me. After I posted my piece last week about Josh Levs and his important paternity leave discrimination suit, I received the following message through Linkedin from blog reader Cynthia Calvert, Esq., who is an expert in work-family employment law.

Work-life law expert Cynthia Calvert
Work-life law expert Cynthia Thomas Calvert

Cynthia was quoted in the NYTimes article about Levs and she believes his case to be stronger than I believed it to be in my analysis last week. After our discussion, I think she’s right. In this case, I’d be very happy to be wrong.

I found our exchange fascinating- it really helped clarify the situation for me, especially in terms of gender discrimination and the difference between parental leave for care versus physical recovery. Cynthia was nice enough to allow me to reprint our back-and-forth here. I think you’ll enjoy it.

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Josh Levs Takes a Stand for Paternity Leave

Journalist Josh Levs has filed an EEOC charge against his employer, claiming that its parental leave policy discriminates against fathers. His public stand may help encourage needed change. Here are the details and my analysis.

Nothing fuels you to fight for what’s right like the love you have for your child.- Josh Levs

A screencap of the NYTimes article profiling Josh Levs and his stand for parental equality
A screencap of the NYTimes article profiling Josh Levs and his stand for parental equality

Over the past few months, I’ve written articles in which I encourage dads who have the financial and job security to bravely stand up so that men’s family needs can be discussed and addressed at their workplaces (see here and here). While I am almost certain Josh Levs did not read my posts, he certainly has taken a bold and public stand for fathers’ work-family issues.

You can read the full details on Levs’ own website or in a terrific NYTimes piece on his case. However, I’ll summarize the relevant facts here:

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Expert Perspectives: Five Reasons Why It’s A Great Time to be a Dad!

Hey, busy involved dad, are you feeling burned out? You are not alone- most dads are struggling to juggle work and family. But that’s a sign of progress. And in many ways this is the best of times to be a father. Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith explains five reasons why.

Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith
Guest author Jeremy Adam Smith

Jeremy Adam Smith writes on a variety of topics related to positive psychology and fatherhood and is the author of several books, including The Daddy Shift. You should really check out his work. In June, he wrote a great article “Five Reasons Why It’s a Good Time to be a Dad” which appeared at the Greater Good Science Center website. He was nice enough to allow me to excerpt it here at FWF. (Here’s a link to the full-length article.)

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Paternity Leave is Good For Kids!

Paternity leave is not just good for dads, but also for kids. A new academic study finds that men who take paternity leave are more likely to be involved in childcare activities later on, and that their kids do better on some cognitive ability tests.

I'm so glad I got to be home with Nick when he was born! I wish every dad had the same opportunity
I’m so glad I got to be home with Nick when he was born! I wish every dad had the same opportunity

According to this article, Dr. Jennifer Baxter, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, will soon be presenting research in which she found:

1. A strong relationship between fathers’ taking paternity leave and their subsequent involvement in their children’s lives.

Baxter states, “Father’s leave is linked to more involvement in childcare activities such as helping a baby to eat, changing nappies, getting up in the night, bathing and reading to a child, compared to fathers who took no leave.”

2. Some evidence of better cognitive outcomes for kids whose fathers took paternity leave.

Baxter states, “The children of fathers who take long leave after their birth are more likely to perform better in cognitive development tests and are more likely to be prepared for school at the ages of four and five.”

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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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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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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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