Although the United States is a developed nation, many employers in Texas and other parts of the country are behind the times when it comes to parental leave policies. After a baby is born, some companies offer paid leave to the mother - in varying amounts - while the father receives much less time off or none at all. Many believe this is a discriminatory law and one father in Atlanta is standing up to fight his company's policy after he recently became the father of a third child.
The man, employed by CNN, recently filed a lawsuit against Time Warner, citing discrimination against biological fathers. The company's time off policy allows 10 weeks of paid time off for birth mothers, as well as men and women who have a baby through a surrogate or adopt. Yet for biological fathers, the maximum paid time off allowed is two weeks.
This left the man with two choices: Take unpaid time off or pay someone else to watch his daughter while he returns to work. Neither of these choices are feasible. However, something to consider is that Time Warner's policy is better than most other companies, which isn't saying much. In fact, only 15 percent of companies in the United States offer paternity leave.
This man is not the only one to file a workplace discrimination lawsuit against his employer for a lack of paternity leave policies. Why are men suddenly feeling the need to stay at home and bond with their babies after birth, especially when their fathers or grandfathers never did the same? It's because young men are becoming more equal in their role as parent. They want to be able to be a part of their children's lives, and they feel the workplace should support that. If these men continue to fight for their civil and legal rights, then hopefully laws will change and the U.S. will become more civilized in terms of parental leave.
The New York Times, "Standing Up for the Rights of New Fathers" Tara Siegel Bernard, Nov. 08, 2013