Parental leave shouldn’t be a luxury

Columnist noe Felix.

Columnist noe Felix.

America has always prided itself on being a country founded on family morals. Common wisdom seems to dictate that we’re supposed to always put our families above all.

However, when one is starting a family in the United States, that can be more than difficult. The U.S. doesn’t make any effort to help people start families.

Starting a family is especially taxing on menbecause of the lack of a good paid paternity leave programs. While women are given some paid maternity leave, at a rate that varies from state to state, men are given less opportunities to be with their newborns in the first few months of their lives.

It’s appalling we put more emphasis on men being the main breadwinners, instead of being actual fathers.

According to a study by the Center for Work and Family at Boston College, dads rarely take time off after the birth of their child. In fact, the same study goes on to report that three quarters of men who don’t receive a form of paternity leave take off a week at work. What’s even more shocking is 16 percent of them are unable to take any days off.
What kind of country are we living in if we can’t offer more than a measly week off with pay?

Moreover, how must a new father feel if they can’t take any days off from work?
It’s not solely the government’s fault we don’t have a comprehensive paternity leave program, the companies have a hand in it too. Out of the many companies that we have stateside, only a meager 13 percent of employers offer a paid paternity leave, also reported by the Center for Work and Family at Boston College.

Furthermore, fathers have a fear of losing their jobs for taking time off to be with their newborn. I’m not a father, but I can only imagine the kind of toll that it must take.They want to be with their child and be there for them in their time of need, but if they’re not at work, who’s going to provide for their necessities? They need a steady flow of income now more than ever.

As a country, we should examine other countries and adopt similar policies of this nature. Sweden is a prime example of what we should be doing. Sweden offers new fathers a well paid two months, in addition to a 13-month parental leave in the workplace.

This gives the father the ability to care for their child and the relief that their job will be secure when they’re ready to go back to work. In similar fashion, Norway offers new fathers two and a half months paid leave and up to 11 months of unpaid/protected leave.

What’s worse is it doesn’t seem to cause an uproar among men that have had or are expecting children. As a society, we must push for change.

New families have such difficulties bestowed on them because of the lack of aid. In order for us to be better, we have to actually do better. America is too greedy and selfish at times and that needs to change. Nowadays, it seems we care more about money than we do about family, which is a shame.