Paternal Leave and Paid Leave Movement


Netlflix is one of the latest companies to offer paid leave to new parents (but the policy only applies to salaried workers). The subject of family leave became important to my husband and me only when we learned we were expecting. The Family and Medical Leave Act (F.M.L.A.) of 1993 allows parents to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. Your employer can require you to use your vacation or sick days during these weeks. After giving birth to our son, I used up my sick and vacation days to cover a few weeks, but I also had some unpaid days. I was fortunate to do this at my workplace; most low-wage workers cannot afford to take time off from work.

The U.S. Department of Labor is spearheading a paid leave movement and reports that the U.S. is the only ‘developed’ or ‘industrialized’ country without a national paid leave law (#LeadOnLeave). We’ve got a long way to go, but there are some successes at the state level. California, New Jersey (shout out!), and Rhode Island all have family and medical leave laws.

The paid leave movement already includes several cities, localities, and states and the District of Columbia. Pittsburgh was the latest city to pass a bill that requires employers to offer paid sick leave, which can include taking time off to care for your newborn baby. (And, if for whatever reason you have something against Jersey, you should click on the map below because Jersey is doing something right).

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 7.33.35 PM (source and detailed report: National Partnership for Women and Families)

If you’re a father and work for one of the companies on the list below (NY Times), consider yourself fortunate to have the option to take paid paternal leave:

paternal leave

I realize this post is very scant in information and analysis, but I think it’s really important to keep an eye on these issues if you’re thinking of having a kid, or if paid sick leave is a priority for you!


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