Should Fathers Get Paternity Leave: Essay
For the past decades, family dynamics have shifted from a single-income household, consisting of a breadwinning father and a caregiving mother. The trend has transitioned to a dual-income household, whereby income responsibilities rest in the hands of both parents. With that in mind, notably, mothers give birth nearly every day all around the world, yet, some fathers struggle to find time off-duty to lend them support. Many fathers struggle to find time to be there long enough for their newborns. At the same time, fathers find it hard to sacrifice their paychecks, which their families rely on.
Fundamentally, it is essential to note that most employers rarely pay paternity leaves for fathers to spend time with their spouses when they suffer a miscarriage, deliver a baby, or adopt a new child. Therefore, these developments for work and family arrangements call for long-overdue enhancements to work-family policies. Whereas mothers are subjected to extensive maternal paid parenting leaves, this essay examines the reasons why men should also be afforded an opportunity to have paid paternity leave the same as new mothers. A balanced paid parental leave policy would promote stronger and more constructive work-family relationships in society.
In response to growing concerns about reasons why men should have paid paternity leave, Zalis (2018) argues that in many instances, when a woman takes up maternity leave depending on the circumstance, her husband may want to be there to assist. It, therefore, means that on taking up paternity leave, the father could be present to lend support in one way or another. Fathers play essential roles in child-rearing. To give an illustration, for instance, a father who cares about his family would want to stay home for a few weeks to lend support and assist his spouse with duties like changing diapers, giving baths to the baby, cleaning the house, and making meals for both the spouse and the baby. This issue of unpaid paternity leave results in denying men an opportunity to help their spouses with home-made duties when their spouses deliver. Besides, some women do not have a natural delivery. They end up having cesarean, which is a significant critical surgery that mothers undergo while carrying their babies. This type of surgery is cost demanding and requires lengthy recovery time to ensure that women heal the wounds as they should. In such cases, men need to be paid paternity leave so that they can adequately cover the hospital bills and also have sufficient time to help their spouses recover safely.
Because of the psychological evidence, it is essential for both parents to spend time with their newborn children in the first few months to boost the bond. For that reason, Miller (2019) reviews that the lack of paternity leave for men suggests that they are denied an opportunity to bond with their children. In regard to that, it means that men lack a chance to bond with their children, contrary to mothers who are granted maternity leave under the law. Miller (2019) illustrates that this kind of practice is discriminatory, violating men’s rights to be treated equally to the female gender under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Besides, the act also discriminates against men against women by perpetuating the gender stereotype that women are the best fit for caregiving at home and not at workplaces. Such stereotypes could result in discrimination against women in the hiring procedures and promotion practices of employers. As a consequence, it could amount to a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment under Equal Protection rights (Miller, 2019).
Zalis (2018) claims that there are two significant challenges that women face; work-life balance and hiring bias. For instance, a hiring manager would prefer to hire a man rather than a woman of childbearing age. A child-bearing woman would be out for a few months for caregiving and might seem complicated for a hiring manager to seek a replacement. At the same time, child-bearing women do not work late hours as well as traveling much. To avoid wastage of time money and resources, it would be necessary for companies to appropriately create mandatory parental leave policies for both men and women. Creating mandatory paid paternity leaves would help in leveling up roles played by men and women both at home and at work. Most men hesitate to take paternity leaves for the fear of being penalized at work. Making paid paternity leaves mandatory would help in edging closer to equality.
A father needs to provide bonding, mainly during the infancy stage of the child. Petts, Knoester, and Li argue that the separation of a child from the father immediately after birth interrupts a fundamental relationship between the father and the child. The interruption significantly leads to high chances of the child lacking prosperity in real-life experiences. At the same time, the mothers are left with the burden of caregiving, which makes them feel uncomfortable in the absence of a fatherly figure for their babies. In that case, it means that paternity leave is impactful in the way men bond with their children at a tender age. Research conducted by Kotsadam and Finseraas (2018) illustrates those men who take at least three weeks or more of paternity leave are likely to have an impact on caregiving, such as feeding and diapering.
The importance of paid paternity leave is much more critical in both economic terms and family bonding. The consequences and benefits imposed on paid paternity leaves provide balanced financial stability for the family. If a father gets paid paternity leave, the family is more financially sound as compared to unpaid paternity leave. The family would be able to cover hospital bills and also be in a position to provide for family needs. Besides, paternity leave enables the father to bond with the child during infancy. Further studies in the literature also suggest that paternity leave allows men to assist their spouses in home duties such as changing diapers, bathing the baby, and preparing meals.
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