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Study: Many Dads Don’t Get Paid Paternity Leave

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Having a baby can be one of the most joyous times in a family’s life, but there are many stresses that come with that bundle of joy.

Many new parents confront challenges figuring out their works schedules. A study by the Center for Work and Family at Boston College found many new dads don’t get much paid time off.

Caleb Johnson is only a few weeks old, but father Josh is already a natural. But he didn’t have a lot of time to get the hang of being a new dad.

Josh was able to take just four vacation days. “It definitely creates a lot of stress. I am working 10 hour days.”

The Boston College study found only 5% of new dads get two or more weeks off. While 75% take a week or less, 16% don’t have any time off at all.

Those numbers don’t surprise Kara Govoni, a nurse/midwife from Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, who sees a lot of new dads in birthing classes.

“There are a lot of dads that even when their wife is in labor in the hospital, they feel like they have to go to work that day,” said Govoni. She explained they want to hold that day until after the baby is born, and are trying to maximize their time off.

Sam Palagi, a firefighter, was grateful he could he could patch together a week off to be with his new son Leo. “My wife had a C-section, so she was tied up in bed for a week.”

The Boston College researchers found only about 15% of companies now offer some type of paid paternity. They also found another reason why men aren’t staying home: themselves.

Dr. Brad Harrington, Director of the Center for Work and Family, said that some new fathers “feel that they will be viewed as wimps and that real men bring home the bacon.”

Times have changed as more men become increasingly involved with the children, but Dr. Harrington says work pressures have increased too.

“Many fathers look at this long work hours culture and the fact that the busiest people are viewed as the ones that are movers and shakers,” said Harrington. “Fathers fear if they start talking too much about the parenting role, they will be cast in a role that is not seen as on the fast track.”

This comes at a cost, as experts say the bonds created in a child’s infancy are the foundation for a lifetime.

Govoni said, “You never get that time back, you never have that tiny baby that is snuggling on your chest for very long, and I think that a lot of dads look back and say, ‘Oh I kind of wish I was there more during that time”, because it goes so quickly.”

And what about the world’s most famous new dad? Even Prince William gets paternity leave. Under British law and as member of the military, he entitled to two weeks paid leave.

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