The Positive Effects of Paid Paternity Leave for Fathers

In a land far, far away, countries offer paid paternity leave. The United States of America is not one of them. Paternity leave is the time a father takes off work at birth or adoption of a child. Many employers are required by federal law to allow their employees (both men and women) 12 weeks of unpaid family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). At the end of the leave, employers are required to allow the employee to return to work with a similar job that includes the same salary, benefits, working conditions, and seniority (Paternity Leave).

Eligibility requirements under FMLA states that employees have to either work for the federal government, state or local government, or any company that employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the work place. The employee also has to have over 12 months of employment with the company and worked for at least 1,250 hours during the previous year (Abel). A number of companies are paving the way to allow fathers to take paid paternity leave. Unfortunately, they are far and few in between. Paid paternity leave should be offered to fathers in America because it has been proved to aid in postpartum depression, it also relieves stress from the mother in caring for the other children, and also other countries already offer a substantial amount of paternity leave.

Paid Paternity leave aids in postpartum depression. Usually fathers believe that postpartum depression is a myth. Postpartum depression is not a myth and paternity leave helps.

Alleviate some symptoms. Postpartum depression can affect up to 20 percent of women. Women who suffer from depression in the first year after a babyâï’s birth have what is known as postpartum depression. This is characterized by sad mood, crying spells, difficulty sleeping, and loss of appetite, and severe cases, thoughts of suicide (Paternity leave and Paternal). The less stress and work the mother has can help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression, such as difficulty sleeping, sad moods and thoughts of suicide.

Well Established research in maternal depression underscores the fact that any support which can decrease the stress of being a new mother can reduce the risk of postpartum depression, which is dangerous to both the mother and child (Paternity Leave and Paternal). The more support and help a mother can get will be beneficial to her and her child. As more and more fathers are taking paternity leave, there has been an increase in benefits to the family; especially families with more than one child.

Paternity leave helps relieve stress from the mother in caring for the other children. Many men do not agree with this statement. They state that the mother does not have much to do at home and is very relaxed. On the contrary, a mother with a new born as well as another child has a great deal of work to do. As Chris H. Timberland says, it was crazy, he recalls. âFar more work than I ever expected. I learned to respect stay at home moms because I was just in awe of how much work had to be done (Abel). The mother has to cook, clean, change diapers, entertain the other child, and many more obligations.

The more a father can do to lower the stress level at home the better it is for the whole household. A bonus a father gets from paternal leave is the extra time and bonding he will get. Chris H. Timberland says â was thrilled by the firsts: the first time the babies rolled over or arched their backs. I’m finding the older they get, the more bonding goes on. And I cannot wait till they are old enough so we can get out and start throwing a ball around (Abel). Paid paternity leave is a hard thing to come by, but other countries are light years ahead of the United States on this topic.

Numerous countries already offer a substantial amount of paternity leave. Many people say that in this economy, paid paternity leave is not the governments issue and is not worth financing. In England, mothers are entitles to nine months paid maternity leave, and fathers up six months paid paternity leave (Turner). Sweden and Norway have very generous leave policies with 16 months paid parental leave to be divided as desired between the parents.

The most generous country is Lithuania, where parents can take up to eight weeks off before the birth, up to 12 months 100% paid leave and 85% paid leave the second year after the birth (Paternity leave and Paternal). As well as benefits to the fathers and families, paternity leave has a great impact on the company. âÏA Study released in January 2011 by the Center for Economic and Policy Research found employers report that these programs offered an overwhelming positive or neutral effect on productivity, profitability, turnover, and employee moraleâ11(Abel). Overall paid paternity leave is proven to benefit the employees and employers, in turn benefiting society as a whole.

For all the positive effects that result from paid paternity leave, the United States and its all companies should adopt this policy. Paid paternity leave proves in aiding in postpartum depression, it helps the mother in caring for the other children and other countries already implement paid paternity leave. Few companies in America offer paid paternity leave; Timberland, IBM, and Microsoft offer fathers two weeks and Merrill Lynch offer one week. A father should communicate with the companyâlis human resource department to see if it offers paid paternity leave. If more fathers would request paid paternity leave, the United States might see this as a reasonable benefit for all fathers.

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