More Fathers Want Paternity Leave; Getting it is a Different Matter

bradl

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If I was offered this, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. Anything to spend more time with my newborn children, let alone give my wife the time to rest. I do see this as a problem in the US, as it doesn't give fathers as much time as they need with their children; they've been charged (a bit too much, IMHO) with being the family provider.. Which is fine, but the cost of not being there is a high one. Plus the stigma that men in the US have about it really grinds gears, as some think that it (paternity leave) is ludicrous.

What do you think? Should men have paternity leave in the US?

http://www.npr.org/2014/08/13/333730249/more-dads-want-paternity-leave-getting-it-is-a-different-matter

More Dads Want Paternity Leave. Getting It Is A Different Matter
by Jennifer Ludden
August 13, 2014 3:46 PM ET

After nearly four weeks at home with his infant son, Kumar Chandran has the diaper thing down.

"Shhh, almost done," he says, hunching over Kai on the living room floor of their Washington, D.C., townhouse, while his wife, Elanor Starmer, tries to placate the fussy baby.

Chandran says there was no question he wanted to be home at this time. The nonprofit he works for offers four weeks of paid parental leave — the same for men and for women. He says this has let him bond with his son and pick up on subtle cues.

"At first it's like he's crying," says Chandran. "It could be ... 17 different things. And now you're like, 'Oh, I think he's hungry.' "

Then there's the practical aspect.

"Every day I'm like, I can't imagine doing this by myself," he says. "If it's just having someone take him so that someone can take a 10-minute nap or eat or make breakfast or something like that."

But Chandran will have to do it alone. Once his wife goes back to work, he plans to take another month off, using vacation and sick leave.

While an ever-rising share of men say they want to have this kind of time with a new child, Chandran is among a lucky few who actually do. In the U.S., paternity leave is a luxury. It's the only developed nation that doesn't guarantee paid time off, even for new mothers.

Scott Coltrane, interim president of the University of Oregon, who researches fathers and families, says more young men want time off with a new child — but just 10 to 15 percent of U.S. employers offer paid paternity leave, almost all in white-collar professions.

"The main reason men don't take it is because they don't have wage replacement — so they can't afford to," Coltrane says.

Some states are acting on their own, mandating paid family leave for most workers. In California, the number of men taking it has doubled in a decade. Coltrane says that's good for men, kids and women.

"Fathers who take leave end up doing more of the routine work later," Coltrane says. "They do more of the transportation, more of the cooking, more of the child care, more of the doing homework with the kids. It's just kind of an early buy-in that helps men stay involved later."

In fact, some other places have taken pains to increase the share of new fathers taking paternity leave.

"Quebec, like Norway, Sweden, have these dedicated daddy days. It's a use-it-or-lose-it [system], and if the men don't take it, nobody gets it," Coltrane says.

Coltrane says programs like these have helped boost the number of fathers taking paternity leave from fewer than 2 in 10 to 8 in 10.

But in the U.S., stigma dies hard, and this past spring, there was a very public display of it. When the New York Mets' Daniel Murphy took advantage of a paternity leave provision in the Major League Baseball players collective bargaining agreement and missed the first two games of the season for the birth of his first child, sports radio lit up.

Host Mike Francesa got this call from "Larry in Flemington": "What is the maternity leave for a baseball player, Mike? I never head of something so ludicrous in my life."

Francesa then went on a 20-minute rant, noting that he'd been back behind the microphone the very day his kids were born.

"What are you gonna do?" Francesa said. "I mean, you gonna sit there and look at your wife in a hospital bed for two days?"

A few others joined in, but the media backlash was strong. And last year, when golfer Hunter Mahan's wife went into early labor, he left a million-dollar tournament he was leading to be there for the birth. Sports media applauded the move, giving him father-of-the-year kudos.

Karyn Twaronite is among those cheering the growing cultural embrace of paternity leave. "I think it's fantastic for the workplace," she says.

Twaronite is a partner at Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, where almost all new fathers take two weeks of paternity leave. If they're the primary caregiver, they get up to six weeks.

Twaronite says it gives the company a competitive edge. Ernst & Young has surveyed workers — its own and others — and finds that the youngest generation of employees has a very different attitude toward balancing work and life.

"Gen Y men rated day-to-day flexibility even higher than Gen Y women," Twaronite says. "They would be more likely to leave a company if day-to-day flexibility was not offered. I don't know that we would have seen that 10 years ago in the workplace."

Twaronite says Ernst & Young has worked to change hard-driving corporate culture. It has encouraged top managers to take paternity leave and talk about parenting openly, as role models.

It even offers executive coaching to new moms and dads. Ernst & Young Senior Manager Jared Crafton was meeting with one coach as he prepared for his second paternity leave.

"She's kinda part coach, part therapist, part cheerleader," Crafton says.

Now back at work, Crafton worries that he may not be on top of his game. "To give you an example, I've been up since probably 4:15 this morning. I'm quite tired. One of my fears is that maybe I'm not being as efficient as possible. Maybe I'm not getting back to people as fast as I should be."

So he took it to his coach, who's been anonymously polling his colleagues about what they expect from him. They'll discuss it at their next session.

New dad Chandran has found his colleagues to be fully supportive of his long paternity leave. Same with friends, says Starmer, his wife.

"What I've sensed is that the people that we've talked to who haven't been able to take much time off — and that's the vast majority of them — have seemed sort of impressed that you're able to do that," Starmer says. "But it's definitely — the signal is, this is really rare."

Friends are happy for them, she says — and jealous.
BL.
 

bradl

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Yes. They should be afforded some time. They can use their sick or vacation time or take it without pay via a leave of absence.
Which is what Chandran did, after using his paternity leave. Most men don't have the luxury of paternity leave without using their vacation or sick time. That's the issue.

BL.
 

AustinIllini

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If we throw out the idea of gender roles, as they should be thrown out, it is only right that men get the equivalent leave to women. Both of these times afforded in the United States, by the way, are far too short.
 

Gutwrench

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Which is what Chandran did, after using his paternity leave. Most men don't have the luxury of paternity leave without using their vacation or sick time. That's the issue.

BL.
I didn't read the article. I just answered your question.
What's your position? Paid paternity leave beyond sick or vacation time?
 

aerok

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Most first world countries have this, there is no reason why USA shouldn't.

 

bradl

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I didn't read the article. I just answered your question.
What's your position? Paid paternity leave beyond sick or vacation time?
My position? Paid leave for both, and equal amount, without fear of retribution of job loss from too much time being taken, or criticism from people who think the idea is idiotic:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/04/21/135609835/baseballs-first-player-to-take-paternity-leave-faces-criticism

Baseball's First Player To Take Paternity Leave Faces Criticism
by Eyder Peralta
April 21, 2011 4:57 PM ET

Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis became the first Major League Baseball player to go on paternity leave last week. The league codified the leave, this season, and now gives players 24 to 72 hours off for the birth of their children.

Rob Neyer, national baseball editor for Sports Blog Nation, told Robert Siegel for today's edition of All Things Considered, that players have traditionally taken time off in the past, but now they don't have to ask permission.

The league made the decision to make the change, he said, "basically to take the decision out of the hands of the team." But Lewis' leave hasn't come without some criticism.

This is what Richie Whitt, a columnist for the Dallas Observer, wrote on Monday about Lewis' time off:
In Game 2, Colby Lewis is scheduled to start after missing his last regular turn in the rotation because — I'm not making this up — his wife, Jenny, was giving birth in California. To the couple's second child.

Don't have kids of my own but I raised a step-son for eight years. I know all about sacrifice and love and how great children are.

But a pitcher missing one of maybe 30 starts? And it's all kosher because of Major League Baseball's new paternity leave rule?

...

Baseball players are paid millions to play baseball. If that means "scheduling" births so they occur in the off-season, then so be it. Of the 365 days in a year, starting pitchers "work" maybe 40 of them, counting spring training and playoffs.
Of course, Whitt was jumped on immediately for his comments — pretty viciously by NBC Sports Craig Calcaterra, who made some harsh personal comments. The Dallas Morning News reported, yesterday, that Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux stuck by Lewis:
"I don't know why we didn't have it before. I've longed for the day we would," Maddux said. "We have the bereavement list and to some, this is for something that's even more sacred."
Neyer cautiously took Whitt's side in his interview with Robert.

"I think [Whitt] took the argument too far," he said. "The example I gave was, what if it's game seven of the World Series? If you're a fan of that team do you want your pitcher pitching in that game? The Rangers last year made to the World Series. Colby Lewis was a big reason for that."

But right now, Robert pointed out, it's only April.
After that, additional time can be taken by vacation or sick leave, as Chandran has done. But some people think that work is more important than family, and that is a problem.

BL.
 

samiwas

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After that, additional time can be taken by vacation or sick leave, as Chandran has done. But some people think that work is more important than family, and that is a problem.

BL.
Indeed. This thread is likely to get fairly involved. I'm pretty sure the topic has been discussed before, and there are several people vehemently opposed to anyone getting any time off.

I was at work the morning after my child was born, but that's only because as a freelancer, I only get paid when I book work days. I hadn't been working much in the couple of months leading up to it, and didn't go to an out-of-town job (where I was the supervisor) for the week of the birth. I also had to leave town for a month, 10 days after our son was born. I so, so wish I could have skipped out on that, but it was a huge sum of money to give up, right when I needed it.

I love that we are on the same level as Swaziland. Freedom!
 

bradl

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Talk about adding more costs to businesses. Required PAID paternity leave? How much does it cost to build that new plant in India, again?
Thank you for proving my point about the stigma and more concerned about business and work than family. Work is not the be all/end all of life. You'll note that productivity has not suffered one bit in the countries where paid paternity leave is offered.

As a father, I'd think that you'd even see the advantages of that. Unfortunately, you've proven all of us wrong.

BL.
 

dwfaust

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If we throw out the idea of gender roles, as they should be thrown out, it is only right that men get the equivalent leave to women. Both of these times afforded in the United States, by the way, are far too short.
What a load of crap. When men can get pregnant and push a 7~11 pound baby out of their hoo-hah, then give them maternity/paternity leave. Take your vacation, spend time with your family, then go back to work. I am so freaking tired of "political correctnesss" garbage. God made men and women different. Acknowledge it and move on.

And, for the record, I believe if both a man and a women do the same job, that they should get the same pay. BUT THERE ARE DIFFERENCES, both physically and functionally.
 

Southern Dad

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Thank you for proving my point about the stigma and more concerned about business and work than family. Work is not the be all/end all of life. You'll note that productivity has not suffered one bit in the countries where paid paternity leave is offered.

As a father, I'd think that you'd even see the advantages of that. Unfortunately, you've proven all of us wrong.

BL.
What I see is that when you require a business to pay a father to take 3, 6 or 9 months off... The company has to pay someone else to do that job while he is gone. That is an additional expense. I can assume that you don't care about those expenses. A company like Walmart? No sweat, they can afford it. A small business owner? Add the "living wage", ACA and this... Yes, there will be some more that can't compete.
 

SLC Flyfishing

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My position? Paid leave for both, and equal amount, without fear of retribution of job loss from too much time being taken, or criticism from people who think the idea is idiotic:
I would have been all over having as much time as possible (and I was) when my kids were born. But I stop short of demanding that men and women get equal time. I always felt the longer time for women was to allow them some extra time to recover physically from the 9 months of pregnancy. The father stays home for a few days or a week, maybe two, so the mother can rest and adjust to the new baby. But the mother gets more time to let her body more time towards returning to normal.

…But some people think that work is more important than family, and that is a problem.

BL.
I fail to see how not giving men the same amount of time as women means that someone automatically thinks work is more important than family.

If you disagree, what amount if time would make you feel like an employer didn't think this way?
 

Moyank24

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What I see is that when you require a business to pay a father to take 3, 6 or 9 months off... The company has to pay someone else to do that job while he is gone. That is an additional expense. I can assume that you don't care about those expenses. A company like Walmart? No sweat, they can afford it. A small business owner? Add the "living wage", ACA and this... Yes, there will be some more that can't compete.
How do international companies manage to survive? Maternity leave, paternity leave, many offer 3 or 4 times the amount of vacation time we have are given in the US.

If they can figure it out, I think we can too.
 

Southern Dad

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How do international companies manage to survive? Maternity leave, paternity leave, many offer 3 or 4 times the amount of vacation time we have are given in the US.

If they can figure it out, I think we can too.
We are already demanding more and more from employers. Do you really want to give them yet another reason to look to Asia as a better place to build their factories?

You're right we could do it here in the US. We could screw every little business owner right out of business by heaping more and more demands upon them until they just can't compete. Large companies can absorb this stuff.

When my daughter was born, I was still military. Every service member gets the same leave, 30 days. It's the same from Private to General, male to female. Men or women are free to take their sick days, personal holidays or vacation time after a child is born. If that isn't enough they are able to take unpaid time off.
 

Renzatic

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If they can figure it out, I think we can too.
What? You mean Europe? That place where the average citizen makes more money, is more self sufficient, tends to engage in more entrepeneural activities, live longer, healther lives, maintain productivity with less hours worked, and basically looks like us 40 years ago?

...we tend to ignore them, because their good example tends to get in the way of our rhetoric.
 

Moyank24

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We are already demanding more and more from employers. Do you really want to give them yet another reason to look to Asia as a better place to build their factories?

You're right we could do it here in the US. We could screw every little business owner right out of business by heaping more and more demands upon them until they just can't compete. Large companies can absorb this stuff.

When my daughter was born, I was still military. Every service member gets the same leave, 30 days. It's the same from Private to General, male to female. Men or women are free to take their sick days, personal holidays or vacation time after a child is born. If that isn't enough they are able to take unpaid time off.
Oh please.

Companies are demanding more from their employees. Less vacation time. Longer hours. Unpaid overtime. And if you don't like it, you can go look for another job.

Turn about is fair play, isn't it? Companies who offer better benefits tend to attract better workers. Loyal workers. More effective workers.

If they can't or won't offer such things, maybe they shouldn't be in business. If offering paternity leave is going to put someone out of business, they're doing something wrong.

It's also unbelievable that we are paying for 30 days of paternity leave for military members, but many men aren't offered the same in our own jobs.

And the fact that our taxes paid your salary for your month of paternity leave while you sit here and complain about how badly companies will be effected is beyond hypocritical. Even for you.
 

Southern Dad

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Oh please.

Companies are demanding more from their employees. Less vacation time. Longer hours. Unpaid overtime. And if you don't like it, you can go look for another job.

Turn about is fair play, isn't it? Companies who offer better benefits tend to attract better workers. Loyal workers. More effective workers.

If they can't or won't offer such things, maybe they shouldn't be in business. If offering paternity leave is going to put someone out of business, they're doing something wrong.
Right. And in the board room, the executives are asking how much is that plant in India? How much for shipping? What can we get for our real estate here?
 

Moyank24

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Right. And in the board room, the executives are asking how much is that plant in India? How much for shipping? What can we get for our real estate here?
The executives, who are probably making 10 times as much as their workers and have 4 times as much vacation time so they can drag their nannies along with them to their own private islands for vacation, are hypocrites. Just like you.
 

Southern Dad

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Okay, so let's see… Workers here in the USA should have a "living wage", they should have employer paid healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave. Anything else in the hopper? What else can we heap on to the businesses?

And what about the single, gay or past child bearing years employees? Isn't it discrimination to give a guy a few months paid time off because his wife had a child when you don't give the single guy a few months off with pay, as well?

And to set the record straight, I've never had a nanny. A babysitter once in a while but no nanny. I take care of my own child… and even her half-sister, who isn't mine quite often.
 

dwfaust

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Okay, so let's see… Workers here in the USA should have a "living wage", they should have employer paid healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave. Anything else in the hopper? What else can we heap on to the businesses?

And what about the single, gay or past child bearing years employees? Isn't it discrimination to give a guy a few months paid time off because his wife had a child when you don't give the single guy a few months off with pay, as well?

And to set the record straight, I've never had a nanny. A babysitter once in a while but no nanny. I take care of my own child… and even her half-sister, who isn't mine quite often.
Obviously the gay and past-childbearing years situations don’t matter - as even gay men and old ladies get birth control and maternity coverage as a part of the un-ACA.

Your mistake here, Southern Dad, is trying to fight this mamby-pamby, touchy-feely, feel good political correctnesss with facts and logic. That stuff is wasted on these libs.
 

Moyank24

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Okay, so let's see… Workers here in the USA should have a "living wage", they should have employer paid healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave. Anything else in the hopper? What else can we heap on to the businesses?

And what about the single, gay or past child bearing years employees? Isn't it discrimination to give a guy a few months paid time off because his wife had a child when you don't give the single guy a few months off with pay, as well?
Yes. And if a company goes out of business because they can't get their sh** together, so be it. 5 more will open up and figure it out. Again, foreign companies have figured it out. I guess you don't believe Americans are as smart as Europeans?

And how about single women, gay or past child bearing years employees? Have they risen up to protest maternity leave?
 

Renzatic

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Okay, so let's see… Workers here in the USA should have a "living wage", they should have employer paid healthcare, paid maternity/paternity leave. Anything else in the hopper? What else can we heap on to the businesses?
I find it amazing that you hold something as basic as the idea of being able to work a single job for a living in such contempt. You expect people to work themselves to death for a pittance, then turn around and blame them for their own condition.

It's like kicking someone in the face and saying "it's not my fault you're choking on your own teeth".
 

Moyank24

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Obviously the gay and past-childbearing years situations don’t matter - as even gay men and old ladies get birth control and maternity coverage as a part of the un-ACA.

Your mistake here, Southern Dad, is trying to fight this mamby-pamby, touchy-feely, feel good political correctnesss with facts and logic. That stuff is wasted on these libs.
Another one who seems to think Americans aren't as smart as Europeans. They seem to have all of this figured out. Why don't you think we can as well?