Paternity Leave is Still Not a Thing?

Paternity Leave is Still Not a Thing?

Today, our baby started her first day of big girl school. She was thrilled. I was thrilled. This means full days for both littles. As a working parent of little kids, or any kids for that matter, it is a constant juggling act of schedules, coordinating, and help. It takes a village.

It made me think about all the villagers I have had to get to this point. My husband is no doubt the MVP of the Village. He is my go-to. It is interesting to me, that in this day and age, when men are so much more involved in family and the home, that Paternity Leave is really still not a thing in the United States.

It is still very uncommon for men to participate in leave. In fact, a SHRM article recently highlighted that 76% of fathers are back to work within a week of the birth/adoption of their child. Only 9% of employers in the US offer paid paternity leave.

My husband had access to one week of paid paternity leave with both of our daughters. With our first daughter, he took advantage of the week but worked mostly through it. I think that subconsciously there is a fear that taking the leave will make a statement about their commitment to their jobs. When our second daughter was born, he took the leave and did not work through it. It was a combination of timing, but also, I believe him feeling more secure in his position in the company.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, FMLA requires companies with 50 employees to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave, which applies to both maternity and paternity for new parents. The Act does not require paid leave. The United States is one of the only industrialized countries that does not require paid parental leave.

With no national mandate requiring paid leave, often fathers cannot afford to take off time off especially if the mother is also taking time off that isn’t paid. If both employers only comply with FMLA, then there is no option to paid leave.  It may not just be an issue of wanting to take the time, but not being able to.

The following states have paid leave policies laws.

  • California
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island

It will be interesting to see how the rising work force impacts companies and national laws surrounding leave policies in general. Millennials certainly place a higher value on leave, and access to leave. A New York Times article in 2017, highlighted an Ernst and Young global generation study that surveyed 9700 people and reported that that 83 percent of millennials in the US would be more likely to join a company that offer such benefits. The survey also showed that 38% would actually move from the US to countries with stronger leave policies.

The trend on offering paid leave might not come from legislation, but from company’s eye on attracting talent in what is currently a tight labor market.

Some companies with the best paid paternity leave, according to Business Insider in case you are expecting and looking for a new job…

  • Citigroup
  • Facebook
  • Juniper Network
  • Square
  • TD Ameritrade
  • Alphabet / Google
  • VMWare
  • American Express
  • Twitter
  • Estee Lauder
  • DocuSign
  • Prudential
  • Netflix

For the full article to see these impressive leave policies, check out

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