Many companies offer women maternity leave so that they can have time with their children but a relatively new idea here in America is the concept of paternity leave for fathers. Fathers are just as essential to the well being of babies and one step towards gender equality is to allow the fathers to equally participate in the early weeks of their babies’ lives. By doing this the mothers are relieved of some of the stress of childrearing and it lets some mothers return to their jobs quickly if they choose.
Under the Family Medical Leave Act, it is the law for employers to grant 12 weeks of unpaid leave to mothers and fathers. This law does have some exceptions because if an employer has less than 50 workers, those employees would not qualify. And if you used those 12 weeks to look after a sick relative but have a baby in the same year, you won’t get those extra 12 weeks for the baby.
Here is an interesting take on the issue of paternity leave and fathers. According to research from Columbia University and the University of California at Santa Barbara, 58% of the men studied were found to be more likely to take paternity leave if they had a son than if they had a daughter. This is also interesting to note when you consider other research which states that in divorce custody situations, men are more likely to get their sons. This could be another reflection of the gender bias that still exists as it relates to parent-child relationships.
If you’re a father who took paternity leave, here are some tips on getting the most out of this time. You can take over some of the diaper changing and bottle feeding duties while your partner rests. Sing and talk to your baby and say prayers over her as she sleeps. You can also help dress the baby if your partner is occupied with other baby-related tasks.
In conclusion, paternity leave allows fathers to bond with their babies and it is a great time for them to refocus on the relationship they have with their partners and discuss future plans as it relates to the baby.