When a child is born, balancing work and family is a challenge most parents face. When trying to aid working parents, people mostly discuss helping workings mothers, but encouraging fathers is equally as important. Assuming that mothers always take on the bigger role in parenting only contributes to the imbalance.
However, poor paid leave programs, low pay, and the stigma around men prioritizing family and taking time off work are major factors preventing working fathers from taking paternity leave. Time spent with family is equally valuable for mothers and fathers, especially when the children are young and are just establishing a bond with their parents.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, only some Americans have the right to unpaid leave and even fewer have the benefit of paid leave. It isn’t easy to care for young children without a stable income and fathers should not be faced with the decision of making a living or caring for their young child and spouse.
This is an institutional and social issue. To overcome this issue, people can elect representatives who work for stronger paid leave laws, advocate for paternity leave, and support others in the workplace who choose to do so as well. Paid parenting leave should not be a benefit, but an expectation. To learn more about paternity leave, read this article by Attorney Tom Spiggle from Spiggle Law Firm.