Paternity leave in the US? No such thing (almost)

Just came across this depressing infographic on paternity leave. We’re at the bottom of the list–right there with India.

We tend to see ourselves as thought leaders in so many ways. And I think we are. But when it comes to dads, well, not so much.




Why dads should take paternity leave: Babies develop faster when mom AND dad are involved

Babies who have both parents at home for the first few months of life were more proficient at interpreting emotional facial expressions at 14 months than babies who were at home with only one parent. At least that’s what a pretty cool study from Sweden found. And as we all know, when it comes to parenting, the Swedes do everything right (or do they?).

Clara Schmitow, the child psychologist who headed the study, looked at two groups of fifty babies. Half had stayed at home with one parent, half with two. “The study indicates that the sharing of parental leave between parents may affect how the child understands other people’s emotional expressions,” she said. Pretty neat.

You can read an abstract of the study,  The Social World Through Infants’ Eyes: How Infants Look at Different Social Figures 

Selling the Daddy Track

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m an expectant father and I want to take some time off after our baby is born. But even though my company offers some family-friendly benefits, my boss isn’t very happy about the idea. At all. I know I have legal rights under the Family Leave Act, but I don’t want things to get hostile. Do you have any suggestions for how I might be able to convince my employer?

A: Over the past decade or so, more and more companies are offering family-friendly benefits. But when it comes to male employees, the messages about whether it’s okay to actually use those benefits are, as you’ve discovered, mixed at best. For example, about 13 percent of U.S. employers offer paid paternity leave. But even at those companies, only about half of eligible men take it. The rest don’t, largely out of fear that they’d be committing career suicide. Overall, compared to mothers, fathers are only one-tenth as likely to have ever used parenting leave and one-sixth as likely to have ever worked part time.
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