Having a new addition (and for some, additions) to a family is an exciting time for everyone. It’s a time for a lot of transition, changes, and new schedules for both the mom and dad. While mothers usually go on maternity leave in the United States for about 6 weeks, the father usually has to head back to work. However, some dads want to spend this precious time with their newborn and help the mother as well.
Law firms and businesses allowing fathers to take paternity leave can be beneficial to society as a whole. In other countries, like Brazil, Australia, India, Mexico and The UK, the father is given the same rights as the mother qualifying this time as paid paternity leave. In Massachusetts, a law was put in place by former Governor Deval Patrick giving men a guaranteed 8-weeks of unpaid paternity leave. This currently makes the state’s maternity leave policy gender neutral, and gives fathers time to bond with their infants. The new law also applies to gay couples who adopt children.
Under the already existing federal law, new mothers and fathers are both eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to care for their newborn child (or children). Even though not all men will take the paternity leave, there is always the option to do so. Although the new law is not mandated, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination advises businesses to consider providing paternity leave for their employees to avoid violating the Equal Rights Amendment in the Massachusetts Constitution.
As society changes and more men ask for time off after the birth of their children, having the option of paternity leave shows the changing dynamic of work and home life in today’s generation. It also shows how society is moving toward a more egalitarian mindset where both men and women are treated equally.
The new parental leave bill passed unanimously in the senate, and goes into effect April 7th.