How Hard Should You Push for Paternity Leave?

If you follow politics closely, you were probably familiar with the first Democratic Debate that took place.  One of the most buzzed about issues and a hot button topic was paid paternity leave. 

As recent research explains:

In order for women to ever have a fair shake in the workplace—I’m looking at you, gender wage gap—paid leave needs to be viewed as crucial for women and men. This is something that should make sense by now, and if candidates looked at millennial fathers for a hot second, they might get it, too. (via.)

While some of us are gripping our hair with anxiety over the rapid speed at which times passes (when did millennial fathers become a thing?!), this is a very important conversation to be had. It’s daunting and frightening how little companies are implementing paid work leave for parents, and how nonexistent it is for fathers.

The pressure men feel is real: Eighty-eight percent of fathers in their 20s and 30s say it’s important to be a ‘perfect dad,’ outnumbering the 78 percent of moms who feel the same way. And in order to be this A+ father, it’s reasonable to assume that men, you know, want to be around when their children are born and need policies that enable them to do so. (via.)

Unfortunately, new fathers are going up against outdated work policies, harsh judgements from older bosses and CEO’s, and the argument that paid work leave will hurt small businesses. This is backwards thinking, and harmful to the American family.

Roughly 80 percent of today’s new dads were raised in the 1980s and ’90s, a time when the number of working women grew to more than 57 percent of the female population, making a two-income household the norm.

In college, these same men were (and are) outpaced by women, who earn more bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. By the time they are ready to have a family, ‘these guys fully expect that their wives are going to have jobs, that they will probably work full-time, and may not be able to take off for long periods of time,’ Brad Harrington, Ph.D., executive director of the Boston College Center for Work and Family, says. The result is a groundswell of men fighting for their right to parental-leave policies.  (via.)

Ouch. Moms, let’s face it – our lives would be a lot easier if our husbands were taught (from the beginning), that their role in the household is essential. It’s 2015, not 1950. Men are no longer the sole breadwinners of households, and moms are no longer the only parent a child should bond with. The American family dynamic is evolving each year, and with it so should the workplace.

As it stands, the Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees only 12 weeks of unpaid leave for eligible workers, making the United States the only industrialized nation without paid maternity leave, and trailing behind the 70 countries that offer paid leave to fathers(via.)

Oh, cool. Those statistics are not FRIGHTENING AT ALL. But seriously, the more we talk about this, the closer we get to change. Parents deserve paid leave. End of story. And there seems to be some form of a light at the end of the tunnel.

A national solution is still unlikely for the time being, although paid leave is sure to remain a major issue in the upcoming election. ‘The polls are overwhelming on this,’ says Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, a nonpartisan network advocating for family-friendly workplace policies. ‘There is such high support across the political spectrum and across all demographics. It would be very difficult for whoever else is in the race not to address it.’ (via.)

For the full article and how you can get involved with the change, check out GQ.com.

Featured image via.

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