Friday, January 21, 2011

Why no paid paternity leave?

The U.S. is the only western country that does not mandate paid parental leave (for neither moms nor dads) upon the birth of a child. On top of that, only about 15% of U.S. companies voluntarily offer paid paternity leave.

What this results in are a lot of dads who would like to take time off at the birth of their child, but who do not have the ability to do so. (We of course can take unpaid leave through FMLA, but not everyone is able to pull this off financially).

This is problematic. Much research has shown that there is a "magic moment" around the birth of a child when dads are most receptive to learning about and engaging in fatherhood. If you can get dads involved at these earliest stages, it is more likely they will stay involved for the long run.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has a policy (or lack thereof) that is interfering with new fathers' ability to connect with their children from birth.

There has been some movement in Congress to change this, but the bad economy has stalled those efforts. The Family Leave Insurance Act and the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act are two bills that would guarantee paid leave.

Were you unable to take paternity leave when your child was born because your company wouldn't pay for it? Let us know.


  1. My wife just had our twin boys in October. Both of us wanted to spend as much time as possible with the boys after their birth...only one of us was able to do so.

    To be fair, my wife has abundant PTO through her job because of her tenure and she did take some FMLA time at the end. For me, it just wasn't an option. With limited PTO time, no PTO sharing option, and savings depleted by medical bills I had to go back to work.

    We were fortunate that my mother and her mother were able to stay with us after the first week. It was fortunate but I was secretly fuming because my mother-in-law was able to spend more time with my sons during their first months than I was. Had I stayed out of work, on FMLA, it's likely that my future with the company would have been in jeopardy. This was told to me in so many words before my children were born.

  2. His Stor E: Thanks for the comment. Could you email me at A national news program wants to talk to a dad who has gone through what you went through.

  3. One question, where did you get this statistic of 15% of US companies offer paid paternity leave? It sounds like a great stat, but I was wondering if I could see its source for further reading. Thanks!


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