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New fathers likely to take leave — if pay is offered

The first few weeks after a new child is brought into a family are critical. As such, parents typically want to spend as much time at home to help provide care and bond with the new family member.

Of course, work can be a complicating factor for many families. Employees are generally guaranteed 12 weeks of work-protected leave per year to care for a newborn or newly adopted child under the Family and Medical Leave Act. This leave does not have to be paid, which can be a sticking point for many parents.

As family dynamics are changing, parents are becoming more engaged in parenting. However, research shows that many men are hesitant to take parental leave without their usual paychecks.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Boston College, men were likely to take paternity if it’s offered, so long as it’s paid. In fact, 45 percent of respondents say they wouldn’t take parental leave if they were paid less than 100 percent of their wages.

Having children creates financial pressure, so it’s understandable why fathers would be hesitant to take time off without the guarantee of income. Understandably, this is a very difficult issue for many people to deal with.

Of course, some companies offer paid leave for both mothers and fathers, but they are under no legal obligation to do so.

The main thing to remember is that parents should be able to take time off to provide care to their new family members. This is a right that’s protected by federal law. Even though workers cannot always expect to be paid during parental leave, they cannot be denied the ability to spend time with their family during this important period.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “New Dads Likely to Take Paternity Leave if Paid Time Is Offered,” Jessica Sparks, July 8, 2014

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