Fact of the Month: Dads Need to Bond, Too
June 14, 2018
In honor of Father’s Day, we’re taking a look at how important bonding time is for dads and babies. Dads haven’t always had access to paternity leave or bonding leave, but now with New York’s Paid Family Leave, they can take the time they need to get to know their new babies and develop bonds that will last a lifetime. And our claim data shows that many dads love to take bonding leave! A little further down, we’ll share exclusive insights and a link to our infographic.
But first, let’s take a look at the state of paternity leave in the United States to put things into perspective. Fathers have nearly tripled the time they spend caring for their children since 1965.
However, paid paternity leave is not a commonly provided benefit yet.
Only about 16.5% of worksites provide paid paternity leave:
- 11.4% to all employees; and
- 2.6% to most employees; and
- 2.5% to some employees.
Outside of economic reasons, there are still some cultural hurdles that make dads think twice before taking leave, such as the perception of men as breadwinners rather than caregivers. 
This is reflected in the duration of leave and the number of fathers taking time off to bond with their new baby:
- 75% of fathers in professional jobs take 1 week or less of time off after the little one arrives.
- And only 5% of fathers take more than 2 weeks off.
Meanwhile, various studies have identified the positive impacts of paternity leave, such as:
- Dads who take at least 2 weeks off after birth continue to be more involved in their child’s direct care than fathers who don’t take leave.
- Dad’s involvement continues to impact the child’s development, including emotional stability and educational achievements.
- Mom and baby sleep better when dad is involved in caring for the little one during the first 6 months.
- It can help mom in her ability to return to work.
Paid Family Leave allows fathers to be more involved with their families, and play a larger role in caring for their children, while protecting their job and providing partial pay.
Among the few states that offer a form of bonding leave for fathers through their respective Paid Family Leave programs, the utilizations are shaping up as follows:
- In California, the percentage of fathers taking Paid Family Leave to care for their new child went from 17% at inception in 2004 to 36% in 2017.
- In Rhode Island, fathers filed nearly 23% of the claims for bonding in the program’s first year in 2014.
And how are we looking in New York so far?
With NY PFL, dads in New York can now take to up to 8 weeks of partially paid time off to bond with their child until baby’s first birthday. Based on our own claim data, NY dads really love to bond:
- As of now, 27% of bonding claims are from fathers!
- And here’s the most fascinating part: our data shows that PFL is helping dads overcome the hurdles we spoke about earlier and take more time to bond:
- Almost 29% of fathers out on PFL take 2-3 weeks
- 14% use between 4-5 weeks.
- And over 17% actually go for 6-8 weeks of bonding leave!
- The remaining claims are for short periods and intermittent days.
Happy Fathers’ Day!
Download our infographic to share these facts!
ICYMI: If you’re a father (or father-to-be) thinking about taking leave to bond with your new child, check out our Benefits of Bonding article for all the reasons why you should. Then get ready to fill out your claim form. If you have PFL through ShelterPoint, visit your claim portal for status and details.
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ShelterPoint is your source for everything Paid Family Leave. If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help.
 Klerman, J.A., Daley, K, & Pozniak, A. (2012 , rev. 2014) Family and Medical Leave in 2012: Technical Report. Abt Associates Inc., p.137. Retrieved May 2018 from https://www.dol.gov/asp/evaluation/fmla/FMLA-2012-Technical-Report.pdf
 DOL Policy Brief. Paternity Leave - Why Parental Leave For Fathers Is So Important For Working Families, p. 3. Retrieved May 2018 from https://www.dol.gov/asp/policy-development/PaternityBrief.pdf
 See note 1 (www.nationalpartnership.org)
 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), pp. 427-453
 Lamb, M.E. (2004). The role of the father in child development, 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., pp. 1–18, 309–313; Smith, K. (2015, February 3). After the Great Recession, More Married Fathers Providing Child Care. Carsey School of Public Policy Publication. Retrieved June 2017, from https://carsey.unh.edu/publication/after-greatrecession-more-married-fathers-providing-child-care
 Tikotzky, L., Sadeh, A., Volkovich, E., Manber, R., Meiri, G., & Shahar, G. (2015). Infant sleep development from 3 to 6 months postpartum: links with maternal sleep and paternal involvement. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 80(1), p. 107-124
 Katz-Wise, S.L., Priess, H.A., & Hyde, J.S. (2010). Gender-role attitudes and behavior across the transition to parenthood. Developmental psychology, 46(1), 18
 See note 1 (www.nationalpartnership.org)
This blog post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal counsel. Please consult with an appropriate professional for legal and compliance advice. Any PFL information is as of the blog post’s date stamp; it is based on the applicable statutes and regulation, and may change as regulations evolve or NY State issues guidance regarding Paid Family Leave regulations. Have more questions? Email us at email@example.com