Let’s Hear it for the Dads: The Movement for More Paternity Leave
Ongoing research summarized by the Fatherhood Institute revealed that many factors related to his employer determine a father's ability to take paternity leave, especially in the United States. A survey done by the father network, City Fathers, showed that 44% of the 750 fathers they surveyed reported that their biggest challenge day in and day out was missing their child while at work. Nearly a third of them had taken no paternity leave or only took part of their entitled leave.
Research shows that employer culture plays a major factor in if a dad takes paternity or other parental leave. Factors that impact if dad takes paternity leave include work culture attitudes towards working long hours, gender equality and caring values, and dads' perceptions of parental support from top managers. It's no surprise that the major factor that determines if a dad takes paternity leave is financial, particularly if he is the sole breadwinner of the family.
Boston's College Center for Work and Family polled over 1,000 dads at 300 companies. The survey showed that 89 percent of dads said that it is important for employers to offer paternity leave and most men take all of the paternity leave that is offered. The majority of employees in the US are provided with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth or adoption of a child through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). According to the Families and Work Institute, just 14 percent of U.S. employers offer paid time paternity leave for new dads.
Paternity leave allows them to experience their child’s sleep routines and hunger signals. As a new dad learns about his baby’s needs, his self confidence about parenting increases.
There have been many studies done on the benefits of dad staying home during the newborn days. Here are some of the benefits of paternity leave:
1. Dads are more likely to be directly involved with the childcare in the years to follow. (The Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development)
2. Taking time off from work benefits dad emotionally, since he will feel much less stressed about work commitments during leave. This in turn will allow him to turn his focus to his family and encourage bonding with his new baby.
3. When dads do not or can not take paternity leave, they often feel that they need to play “catch up” in terms of learning about taking care of their baby. Paternity leave allows them to experience their child's sleep routines and hunger signals. As a new dad learns about his baby's needs, his self confidence about parenting increases.
4. A study done at The University of Texas-Austin revealed that stay-at-home dads feel positive about housework and taking care of their kids. It also showed that an increasing amount of men are shifting their beliefs about what it means to the a provider for the family.
My husband, who is a member of the armed forces, happily took his 2 weeks of paternity leave after the birth of each of our three children. The time he spent with them as newborns during those first few weeks helped his bond with them immensely. Even though he was at home for just two weeks, we were both thankful for that time. A time in our lives that can never be replaced.
Did your husband take paternity leave? If you are pregnant, will he be taking any paternity leave? Why or why not?