For Tech Dads, Is Paternity Leave Risky? - InformationWeek

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For Tech Dads, Is Paternity Leave Risky?
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PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
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11/14/2014 | 5:29:50 PM
no stigma to having a family
I really think that the culture needs to change because family is as important as work.  I have heard terrible stories of people whom have prioritize work over family and they regret their decision. I think companies should really work to help support family and work balance. Otherwise, in the other extreme, my cousin was working on a company in a developing country where in the contract it was stated that she couldn't have any child during that time.
zaious
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zaious,
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11/16/2014 | 1:28:52 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
Family is most important -no doubt. The work has to be done to support the family and oneself, it might be enjoyable, completion of projects should give satisfaction. But, the company will never love one back when you are old or one needs a hug. Unfortunately, there is a stigma in almost all tech offices for family leave. Particularly, the men are considered 'fragile' or 'weak hearted' if they utilize the allocated days for family leave.

@Pedro: The case of your cousin sounds interesting. That might be a particular case or a particular type of job. Interesting fact is, in most developing countries ' paid maternity/paternity leave' is considered quite normal and is not stigmatized. Many of them seem to  have take care of this issue quite nicely. For example, even in many countries, the garments workers gets (in many cases paid) maternity leave. 
progman2000
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progman2000,
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11/16/2014 | 12:40:09 PM
I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
In my experience the Tech guys are the ones that are more often working long hours remotely (at home).  It's the front office types that are expected to put in the long hours in the office.  So I think the Tech guys have a little more flexibility as far as taking time or at least helping at home with childcare while continuing to work.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
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11/17/2014 | 1:03:17 AM
Equal Discrimination
One "good" thing is that not only are women punished for having children, but so are men if they want to be a big part of their babys' lives. I remember a story where Hillary flat out refused to take time off to nurture Baby Chelsea, and Bill, while he was sitting governor of Arkansas, actually had to defer some of his work so that their child wouldn't end up being raised by a nanny.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
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11/17/2014 | 9:56:16 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
@ Zaious.  I'm sure the people who have those values don't have any family of their own.   

The country I mentioned is in Latin America.  My friends have told me that because of the huge amounts of candidates, companies think they can do anything they want.

I was reading somewhere that the best countries to be a parent is in Scandinavia.  Due to the excellent welfare state and strong family values, companies provide a lot of support for support.  Something we should definitely learn here in the U.S.  I know in academia there is a strong pressure to perform; many couples postpone having children because of the pressure to get tenure.  By that time, it is too late.  I really think there should be a national discussion on making sure companies have policies that help rather than hinder family life.

 
soozyg
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soozyg,
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11/17/2014 | 10:43:44 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
 in the contract it was stated that she couldn't have any child during that time.

That harks back to the 1950s in the US. A friend of mine once told me that, around that decade, her mother was a teacher and was fired when she got married. Apparently, that school's teachers all had to be single women.
Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2014 | 10:48:15 AM
Paternity stigma
Outside the tech world, there is very definitely a stigma against paternity leave. Major League Baseball recently instituted a few days' leave to attend the birth of a child -- a weekend pass, in essence -- and fans and commentators are giving the players flak for it, saying it shows a lack of dedication for the team. Which is ridiculous, but it shows our society still a hurdle to cross.

I do wonder if some tech circles are like that. It's hard not to notice, as Andrew writes in the article, that the number of hours worked is considered a badge of honor and sign of dedication.

A friend of mine recently took all 12 weeks of paternity leave that he was offered. When our first child arrived, I had 2 weeks of paternity leave available -- which I gladly took, in addition to some accrued vacation. (Disclosure: That employer was UBM.) Totally worth it -- but I was working in a group that was very supportive. Not everyone is so lucky.
soozyg
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soozyg,
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11/17/2014 | 10:49:11 AM
corporation vs. tech
I can understand the difference in the mentality here between an older, slower company like a corporation, compared to a younger tech company. In larger, older corporations, the pace is a little slower. So I could see how an employee could get some time off. Smaller tech companies, however, seem to move at the speed of light and there are always inventions, new products and new developments. I could see how an employee in the company could get too far behind by the time he gets back from leave.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
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11/17/2014 | 1:04:43 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
I think the ability to work remotely is part of the problem. If your company gives you leave to care for a newborn, with the assumption that you'll still be putting in lots of hours from home, that's not really leave. Those first few weeks and months with a baby are essential for both parents to bond, and to develop competency in caring for an infant.

On the flip side, as children get older, the flexibilty of remote work can really be a benefit, such as the ability to pick up and drop off from day care, or take a half day when the child has a half day, etc. But at the infant stage, parents should be allowed to be fully present, and not have one eye on the inbox.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
11/17/2014 | 3:17:35 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
I recently discussed the reality of working from home with a young child with my cousin. He just started working at home, and is getting used to the upsides and downsides -- including spouses wandering in and starting to chat.
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