Time for Dads

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Men and fathers need time to care for their families, too. Currently, men are far less likely to take unpaid leave than women, and more likely to take leave if it is paid.

Since 1965, fathers in the United States have nearly tripled the time they spend caring for children, and working fathers are now just as likely as working mothers to say they find it “very” or “somewhat” difficult to manage work and family responsibilities.[1].

Research shows the positive long-term effects on the father-child bond and greater parity in parental caregiving when fathers take family leave. In two-parent, opposite-sex households, fathers who take two or more weeks off after the birth of a child are also more involved in that child’s direct care nine months after birth than fathers  who take no leave.[2]  Studies have also shown that when fathers are more engaged with their children, those children have better developmental outcomes, including fewer behavioral problems and improved cognitive and mental health outcomes.[4]

Yet, one study found that only 1 in 20 fathers in professional jobs took more than two weeks off after their most recent child was born.[3] And many fathers in lower wage jobs have no access to paid leave when their child is born or when another family member needs care.

It’s time for dads to benefit from paid family and medical leave.


[1] Parker, K., & Wang, W. (2013, March). Modern Parenthood: Roles and Moms and Dad Converge as They Balance Work and Family. Pew Research Center Publication. Retrieved 1 June 2016, from http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/files/2013/03/FINAL_modern_parenthood_03-2013.pdf

[2] Nepomnyaschy, L., & Waldfogel, J. (2007). PATERNITY LEAVE AND FATHERS’ INVOLVEMENT WITH THEIR YOUNG CHILDREN: Evidence from the American Ecls–B. Community, Work and Family, 10(4), 427-453

[3] Harrington, B., Van Deusen, F., Sabatini Fraone, J., Eddy, S., & Haas, L. (2011). The New Dad: Caring, Committed and Conflicted. Boston College Center for Work & Family Publication. Retrieved 1 June 2016, from http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers/cwf/pdf/FHStudy-Web-2.pdf

[4] https://www.dol.gov/asp/policy-development/paternityBrief.pdf