The Truth about Paternity Leave

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Mothers are expected to take maternity leave, but why aren’t fathers’ expected to take paternity leave? A Washington Post article discusses the stigma that is often associated with fathers who choose to take time off to care for their newly born child. It is a sad reality that fathers that are fortunate enough to work for companies that offer paid paternity leave may opt to turn it down because they do not want to seem unmanly or be seen as doing a woman’s a job. For more continue reading today’s blog by your Western Pennsylvania family lawyers.

Even if a Pennsylvania father did want to stay home and care for his newborn, he may be unable to. It is now assumed that a company will offer a mother maternity leave, but paternity leave is a different story. Many fathers don’t get paid time off when their wives or partners have babies. The Washington Post article on the subject reported that, “just 14 percent of employers offer any kind of paid leave for the spouses of women who’ve given birth… And while the Family Medical Leave Act does allow many fathers to take time off after a new child is born, that coverage is unpaid.”

The report continues by addressing arguments for increased paternity leave. What many people in Pennsylvania and all over the country fail to realize is that “fathers who take paternity leave offer peace of mind to the mothers returning to work, save money on child-care costs (if their leave is paid), and may be more involved with caring for their children over time, freeing mothers up to take on more work.” This peace of mind of a new mother is something that employers need to address in order to help their female employees as they transition back into the workforce. Employers need to take into consideration the Pennsylvania family as a whole, not just the mother and her newborn child.

The Washington Post writes that taking the family into consideration is “especially important as more women become primary breadwinners in the family.” Many existing leave policies, they continue, “assume that mothers will be the ones to take extended time off, even if she’s the one with the better job or better career prospects. The way many policies for fathers are currently set up, his time becomes a bonus.”

Organizations need to realize that offering paternity leave to fathers in their company will be extremely beneficial to their female employees. They need to attempt to find ways to entice their male employees to take this time off in order to assist their wives. The only way this can be done is to attempt to change the way in which paternity leave is viewed in corporate America. The negative connotations that come with a Pennsylvania father taking time off to help his wife care for a newborn child need to be removed, and that is something that needs to be done internally.

A change has begun to arise in progressive companies like Facebook, and Yahoo, which are offering their employees significant amounts of paid paternity leave. This may be because the employees see themselves and their wives differently than those people that work in traditional corporate America. These individuals see themselves as having the same parental responsibilities as their wives, and are therefore more inclined to take the days off to spend with their child. Hopefully for Pennsylvania parents, as well as their children, this trend begins to move to other industries and soon more fathers will embrace the role of temporary stay-at-home dad.

The Pittsburgh office of Lisa Marie Vari & Associates is here to help you with any Pennsylvania family law conflict you may be facing. Whether you want to know your rights as a Pennsylvania father, or are going through a Pennsylvania divorce or having issues with a child custody arrangement, or our experienced lawyers can provide you with guidance during your case. Contact us today to set up an appointment with our family law attorneys in Pittsburgh.