The Pros And Cons Of Taking Paternity Leave
There are many things to consider if you are the father of a newborn child and you simply want to take paternity leave. The main reason is obviously to share in the moments of welcoming the newborn baby into the family. These are precious moments and should be treasured so taking a period of twelve weeks if your company allows it, would be a great idea.
But there are many disadvantages to this rather utopian situation. The first concerns money in that the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), which is in force in most states, does not allow you to be paid while you are absent from work. They will pay your health benefits but you will have to pay your normal share of what you usually pay when you get back.
There are also requirements about where you live, the time you have been employed with the company, and the minimum number of employees which will determine whether you might be eligible to take the leave or not.
Then there is the whole attitude of fellow workers and there are concerns that while you are away, things might happen and you may jeopardize your post.
Now some states are a bit more go ahead, for example like California, Washington, and New Jersey where you can actually take the leave and will at least be partially paid. California introduced its law in 2004 and it allows fathers to take six weeks partially paid leave.
But generally, the number of fathers taking paternity leave is only about 20% according to one survey conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The main reason is that fathers cannot do so because of the loss of pay.
There is also a certain amount of discrimination against men who choose to take this leave because they are regarded as not deserving. it. This is the other side of the coin where a woman is denied certain rights because she chooses to have a child in the first place.
There are many things that new fathers can do though to make up for the fact that they cannot take the paternity leave for the economic reasons that I have mentioned above.
Fathers can use a bit of flexibility in their timetables and they can still share in those special moments and help the newborn mothers with seemingly simple tasks. But the psychological support they give can be of enormous value.
They can take part in some of the feedings when they do not have to get up early the next day for work. They can schedule important milestone events and make sure that they can take leave on those days. These could be the first outing or some other special event. Then they can also make sure that they have some time due to them anyway after birth if they have worked extra hours before the actual event.
Finally, they can also plan ahead and look at upcoming events where they have the option of not being present or where there is some leeway. So, while they may not be able to take six or twelve weeks’ paternity leave, at least they will be able to make the most of the time they have at their disposal.
Robert Locke has written on parenting issues, ADHD, and children’s health for many years. He is a Diamond level author with Ezine Articles. Check out his blog on problem kids.