In honor of Father’s Day, coming up later this week, I’m pleased to share a special guest post from Scott Behson. Scott is a Professor of Management at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He also writes a popular blog about work-family balance for fathers, Fathers, Work and Family. Scott frequently appears in media outlets as an expert commentator on fatherhood and work-family issues, and this week he’ll be a speaker at a White House convening on the roles and challenges of working fathers. I’m impressed by Scott’s commitment to the importance of fatherhood and the role that all fathers – whether or not they have relatively comfortable or flexible working conditions – can play in supporting their children’s development. Enjoy his post, and join him in inviting the dads in your life to sign our petition calling on
Congress to pass the FAMILY Act.
Happy Father’s Day,
Paternity Leave for All Dads
By Scott Behson
I didn't exactly take a paternity leave. I'm a college professor and my son, Nick, was born three days after my Spring semester ended. Perfect timing (although we didn't actually plan it that way). I was able to spend the summer on a "de-facto paternity leave" with my wife, Amy, and Nick as we all got to learn how this whole "baby makes three" thing would shake out.
I was able to forge an immediate bond with my son, gain confidence as a new parent, strengthen my relationship with my wife, and emerge from the experience as a fully involved co-parent to Nick and equal parenting partner with Amy. In short, my paternity leave fundamentally shaped me as a person, parent, and spouse, and I believe it contributed to the strength and resiliency of my family.
That’s why I support the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would enable new parents – including dads – to take 12 weeks of partially paid time away from work after the birth or adoption of a child. Today, I’m inviting you to join me in supporting this important bill by signing a petition.
I wish all fathers and families were afforded the opportunity to fully experience the first few months of their children’s lives. This special time to develop as a person, a parent, and a spouse should not be reserved just for new moms, for the lucky few new dads with ultra-flexible jobs or awesomely progressive employers, or for parents who can afford to take unpaid time away from work. It shouldn't just be for the residents of the three states (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) that provide paid parental leave.
I believe all dads deserve this opportunity, and that dads, moms, kids, families, and our society all benefit when dads get to immerse themselves in the life of their children in such a uniquely intimate and transformative way.
In order to make paid paternity leave a reality, we need public policy that better supports new dads. Stronger families are in everyone’s interest – including employers. Currently, without any national standard for paid paternity leave, we’re all missing out on the benefits of dads who are more engaged with their families, jobs, and communities.
This Father’s Day, let’s call upon Congress to give dads and their families a truly meaningful present. Please join me in signing a petition asking our elected representatives to pass the FAMILY Act.
Cross posted with author permission from CLASP.