NY PFL for Father's Day
June 16, 2017
Our cultural expectations of Dads have changed dramatically in the last generation — we’ve gone from keeping fathers out of delivery rooms entirely to encouraging them as active participants in the birth and upbringing of their children.1 And while society has been relative quick to adapt to this change, the infrastructure that supports — or would support — men assuming these active roles in parenting has yet to really catch up to our adjusted expectations.
For example, just 9% of American companies offer paid paternity leave, and they do so voluntarily since they are not under any legal obligation to do so.2
79 countries around the world have laws requiring paid parental leave for fathers, and that includes many third-world and underdeveloped nations.3 The US, by contrast, has no legal precedent protecting paid leave for mothers or fathers — the closest thing to it being the unpaid leave time provided by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).4
Pressure on Dads: Paternity Leave Trends in America
New dads also face pervasive pressure to return to work “without missing beat” after their children are born.5 Studies have even shown that men who do take parental leave can be negatively impacted in terms of promotion opportunities, raise frequency, and less-favorable performance evaluations.6 This mindset is generally responsible for new dads taking 10 days or less of time away from work to bond with their newborn babies.7
Men are also far less likely to take unpaid time time off to bond with their children, as most men report they’d need to earn at least 70% of their salary while on leave.8 PEW Research reports that 46% of fathers want to spend more time with their kids, but another 36% of men said they would not take advantage of paid parental leave benefits for fear that it could jeopardize their position at work.9
Why Is Dad-Bonding Important?
Research indicates that infants need as much time with their fathers as they do with their mothers to form the beneficial bonds that will eventually set them up for a healthy life.10 Fathers bond by virtue of time spent with their newborns, and by participating in the same kinds of care giving activities (feeding, bathing, soothing, diaper changing, etc.) that mothers do.11 By depriving fathers and infants of this experience, it not only has lasting effects for the newborn, but for the father as well.
Research shows that fathers who have adequate time to bond with their children are less likely to feel stressed about parenting in general and have greater confidence — and often greater participation — in child-rearing activities.12
For children and families, the benefits are also clear (See more from our blog on the benefits of bonding). Children who form strong bonds with both parents during early infancy are more likely to go on to form well-adjusted adult relationships, have stronger immune systems, and have more resilient, long-term psychological well-being.13
How PFL Helps Dads
We know that providing paid time-off for dads generally results in more fathers taking advantage of it, even if it’s not for the full amount of time available to them.14 Paid Family Leave in New York takes this idea a step farther in providing job protection for fathers who do take advantage of paid time-off, which is thought to be another factor that motivates fathers to spend more bonding time with their children.15
PFL can also start helping dads as soon as next year. For example, if a dad has had a child in 2017, he can take advantage of PFL beginning as soon as January 1 of 2018. And while the United States has a long way to go to make good on its expectations of dads, New York joins a handful of other states (like California and New Jersey) in taking the necessary first steps to supporting new dads through PFL.16
From all of us at ShelterPoint Life, Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, and future Dads!
Wondering what it's like to look ahead to NY Paid Family Leave as a brand new Dad? A while back, we asked ShelterPoint's very own new father Mark. Read his story here.
This information is based on the current draft regulations and may change with the release of the final regulations. Got more questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org