I’m not sure it does (and this comes from the father of four children himself). A little paternity leave would do no harm in most cases, but I’m not sure it confers any substantial or significant personal or societal benefits.
Certainly I’m not against a father sharing the burdens and obligations and responsibilities of parenthood with the mother of the newborn child, particularly when the child is a newborn.
But we’ve gone generations without paternity leave and no one ever wrung their hands over it as being a chronic or serious difficulty for families or for society at large. I see no evidence that a “lack” of paternity leave is or ever was a difficulty at all.
With my children, I was not at home with them all day for 6 to 12 weeks after they were born, but I was with them every day, after I got home from work. There was a time when I would get home from my day job, and take care of the baby while my wife went to her job at night. My wife and I created such an arrangement so that our baby would not have to be in daycare. I don’t complain about being “denied” paternity leave, nor does my wife, nor do any of my children. Indeed, I have nothing to complain about.
Fathers clearly do not need as much time off from work after their baby is born as many mothers may. I cannot identify any personal or societal need for paternity leave. Frankly, the concept of paternity leave equal to that of a mother’s maternity leave appears to me to be an effort:
- to make it appear that men are no different from women in the workplace;
- to find an excuse for getting time off.
Some argue that by granting fathers paternity leave it helps to put fathers and mothers in the workplace on a more level playing field when it comes too staying employed and//or being promoted (the idea being that if a man takes off as much time off of work as a woman does when a baby is born, then men who have children are seen as no more of an asset to the employer woman and/or just as much of a “liability” to the employer as women who have children). That’s not true. If paternity leave is designed to prevent men from having an advantage over women in the workplace, all that paternity leave would do is encourage employers to hire people who never have children.
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