It’s no secret that the United States ranks last among developed countries in measures of family policy. We’re the only one that offers zero paid weeks of leave to new mothers and fathers, and while our current policy, the Family and Medical Leave Act signed into law by then-president Clinton in 1993, allows for 12 unpaid weeks of leave, it doesn’t even apply to nearly 40 percent of American workers (it only covers employees of more than one year at a company of at least 50 workers).
Accordingly, new moms and dads face financial and career-related challenges to taking time off following the birth of a child. Fathers in particular come up against antiquated gender stereotypes when hoping to take paternity leave, as they are miscast in the family role of breadwinner, rather than that of caregiver. “The idea of men needing to have time off when their kids are born is an idea that is still taking root in our society, and a number of our employers don’t really support that idea through their paternity leave policies,” says Dr. Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at Families and Work Institute.” – Dads, Take Your Leave.
The Multnomah County Commissioner on Paid Family Leave. Just before Father’s Day 2015, we spoke with Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey about paternity leave. Here’s what he had to say.
I wanted to spend the time with my son. That’s pretty straightforward. But it was also in small part political: I think that full male partnership in household work, especially the most time-consuming type of such work, childcare, is essential to gender equality. There are various policy solutions to make this possible, like paternity leave, but we each need to enact it ourselves. So I did. – Gabe Ross
All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses – And How We can Fix it Together by Josh Levs. When journalist and fatherhood columnist Josh Levs was denied fair parental leave by his employer after his child was born, he fought back—and won. In the process, he became a leading advocate for modern families. In All In, he shows how fatherhood today is far different from previous generations and what it means for our individual lives, families, workplaces, and society.
The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home by Scott Behson. The Working Dad’s Survival Guide helps men understand they are not alone, and offers a series of concrete time and life management strategies that enable them to succeed in their careers while also being the present, involved fathers they always wanted to be.