It is essential in those first few months of the child’s life for fathers to spend time with their infant as patterns set early on are difficult to change. Mothers as the primary caregiver typically develop a close bond with their child . is immediately cast in the role of a support. Unless some extraordinary event occurs, there is a very low likelihood that roles will be reversed or equalized. Fathers should have as much time off after child birth as is feasible for the circumstances. It is also important during this time for fathers to nurture the relationship with the other parent or partner. Not only that but it is important to communicate and be vocal about the importance of their caregiving role with their employer.
While research attention to research on fathers has continued to increase, paternity leave policies have not equally progressed. When policies do not progress, inequalities for fathers will continue to exist despite efforts to provide services to fathers. The lack of paternity leave policies in the United States works against other initiatives for early father involvement and support. For example, when a father in the United States finally attempts to seek out support, there are other issues in the father’s mind to navigate including work, finances, and childcare. When these issues are not considered, it becomes futile providing paternal perinatal supportive services.
Paternity Leave Around the World
Paternity leave policies in Canada, Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia have already demonstrated the positive effects it has on both father engagement and cultural attitudes. In these countries, not only has father engagement increased but cultural expectations for fathers have helped produce healthier families and more egalitarian attitudes towards parenting. Parenthood was once implicitly associated with motherhood in these countries like largely is in the United States, but now fatherhood increasingly seen essential and included in parenthood. These countries have modeled the integration of paternal support into maternal care, and the greater effect it has on masculine expectations can be seen as well.
The recommendations for paternity leave focus on the pay, length of time, and whether the right are individualized. One of the strongest recommendations for paternity leave is that it needs to be paid, and at least two-thirds of their salary, for fathers to take it. Recommendations for time length of the paternity have varied. While two weeks is the average amount taken even when offered more time, it was more important for policies to be flexible. It has also been concluded that fathers are more likely to take parental leave if they have individualized rights. This means that when parental leave rights could be used by one parent or the other, fathers were less likely to utilize the time than mother. It is clear how important it is for father to have their own paternity leave rights separate from the mother.
It is necessary for organizations to acknowledge and respect the multiple roles that fathers play today. If so they will reap their rewards in terms of loyalty, productivity, and long-term retention. This can be demonstrated by offering paternity leave or being flexible if policies are not already established. Organizations should see that as part of “talent management strategy.” Paternity leave policies should be flexible enough to handle a wide variety of situations and needs, including additional time for fathers who want to be primary caregivers. This demonstrates the need to embrace “flexible work” as a business strategy. Understand the impact that men’s active caregiving has on women’s advancement. Develop an employee-friendly culture that supports both mothers and fathers, as well as those who are not parents.