Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Especially to the new dads celebrating their first Father’s Day and the soon-to-be dads. Those first few months are crucial to the development of and bonding with the child.
When it comes to paid leave for parents, the focus is primarily on moms. Especially when it comes to legislation and corporate policies. The majority of countries from around the world have mandated paid leave for mothers. A big exception here is the United States, which does not.
While corporations are implementing robust paid maternal leave plans to attract and retain talent. Even if there’s no formal paid leave benefit, most organizations provide short-term disability (STD) benefits. The drawback is that STD only applies the pregnancy recovery.. aka to the mother who carried the child. Also, STD is typically only a portion of the mother’s normal salary.
Unfortunately, fathers have a difficult time taking time off when their child is born. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does mandate job protection for employees who need to take off from work to care for a loved one. FMLA does not mandate that the leave is paid though. Job protection is also only for twelve weeks. Having no income is not an option for most families.
Paid leave for fathers gives them the time to be there for the early stages of the child’s development. Being present for early bonding with a newborn can have lasting effects and improve the dad’s ability to parent in the future. It will build his confidence in his ability to parent well overall even without the mother present. He will be more engaged and present throughout the child’s life.
Inclusive paid leave policies benefit moms too
When the childcare responsibilities are split between both parents, it improves the couple’s relationship. There are two people to take on the duties and they support each other through the process of caring for the newborn. It will reduce the stress on the mother and lead to healthier bonding time for both.
Additionally, giving fathers paid paternal leave gives flexibility in the household. Women will have the option to return to work because they know their child’s father can be the caretaker. Fewer gaps in work time make it easier to return back into the workforce. Women can maintain their paths to promotions and pays.
Paid paternal leave changes the stigma around caregiving being a woman’s job. It becomes the norm for fathers to stay at home and take care of the kids. Over time, the bias towards not hiring women because they may need time away will lessen.
Paid leave to take care of a newborn for both moms and dads has long-lasting impacts. It supports stronger families and health. While also supporting the efforts for fair and equal treatment of women in the workplace.