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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. 
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.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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11/18/2014 | 3:56:41 PM
Re: no stigma to having a family
@PedroGonsales: "I really think there should be a national discussion on making sure companies have policies that help rather than hinder family life." -- Agree with you 100%. It's unfortunate that there is a stigma for Dads taking time off. it also implies that the man's time in the office is somehow more important or considered more valuable than the woman's time at work, even if the two have equal positions and equal pay. For women to be able to progress equally, there needs to be equal treatment of men in the workplace when it comes to parenthood, taking care of elders, etc. Right now, the burden falls primarily on the woman because most policies favor women over men in those family roles (and I use the word "favor" quite loosely here, as most policies for men and women are completely lacking in the U.S.)
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 10:06:00 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
,

SusanN,

I am sitting here,scratching my head wondering why on Earth do you need-"A National Discussion" around this issue.

I am not disputing this is an important and vital issue but its something which every Individual should make a Decision on their own.

Are their kids important to them?

I am sure,the Answer is Yes-Then Take sometime off accordingly.

Splitting the load with the Mother of the baby makes immense sense and it helps give both parents an immense sense of joy regarding the Magic that is parenthood.

What is your company gonna do if you take say a month off after your Kid is born?They can't fire you(if you are a Permanent Employee).

At the max they can slow down your Career Progression a little.

So what?

What is more important for you as a parent-Spending time with your Kid when he/she needs it or earning a few extra bucks for more Materialistic iThingys???

From where I sit the Decision is an easy one to make(as I have never really been attached to materialistic things).

Regards

Ashish.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
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11/19/2014 | 8:06:46 PM
Re: no stigma to having a family
@Ashu001: I appreciate your perspective and applaud it. However, I do think there needs to be a national discussion that addresses both the cultural and legal issues around paternity leave. right now, according to federal law one is entitled to 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave above and beyond one's accrued vacation or sick time. However, that leave is unpaid leave. I agree in theory a Dad could save up all his vacation and personal days and, in most companies, manage at least 2-4 weeks off, but any more time than that would fall under the Famiy Medical Leave Act and would be unpaid time. Under that act, the company is required to keep "a" job for you, but doesn't have to guarantee that you get back the exact job that you left when you took the time This law applies equally to men & women, while individual companies will set their own maternity/paternity policies. IMHO men and women should have equal time off from their places of work, but most policies allow more time for Moms than Dads. Ant that's not even getting into the social stigma and career risks. Again in theory it's true that a Dad should put family first, but sometimes putting family first means making sure that you are earning enough to support them. Lots of gray areas IMHO.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/20/2014 | 8:54:01 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
@susann, I just said what made most sense to me personally and seemed quite obvious. It seems there's ample scientific evidence backing our positioned here-www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1303395/Hormone-rush-turns-man-father.html & www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3943240/ we just need to embrace nature more maybe?
markweb
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markweb,
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7/4/2015 | 9:03:22 AM
Re: no stigma to having a family
I'm in the UK, and in many ways the problems or additional costs that arise from Paternity and Maternity are a problem that grows by the day, I have a customer who currently employs in excess of 20000 programmer's worldwide, he is based in the UK and he told me that only the way he can stay ahead of the game is to employ programmers in Asia.

He said that it's not so much the programming labour cost that makes the difference because work is carried out based on quotes but the extra's such as paternity and maternity on top of PAYE and NI, lump that lot to together and 30% + needs to be added to a quote, he said that in most cases will mean that his company will not be given the work.

His solution is worrying, he employs less than 10% of his workforce in the UK and the rest in countries that either pay much less or no maternity or paternity, I'm really not sure how you reverse this trend because programming is very much price driven but if countries like the UK and USA don't do something the fastest growing industry in the world today will be all done 'all bar' the shouting elsewhere.

So return to your original point, is paternity risky? I would say absolutely yes, perhaps not directly because the law says they can't, but it is very likely to lead to redundancy or at best new jobs will be created locally because your job can be done cheaper abroad.

This problem does not just effect our industry, manufacturing in many industries has slowly moved abroad over the last 40 years, I believe that because most programming work can be moved as quick as an email can be sent, is potentially the biggest problem that UK and USA face today.
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.
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.
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.
ClareCM
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ClareCM,
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11/18/2014 | 9:35:54 AM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
There is research that shows that spending time with an infant has positive effects for the child and for the parents' relationship with the child later.  This applies for both moms and dads, so I think it's important for both parents to take the time. The only way to change the culture is to just do it.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 10:30:45 AM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
Drew,

Have to agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly.

Even if the Company does'nt give you the level of Leave you want as a Father you should take it on your own.

That's the responsible thing to do here.

And I don't think you should feel guilty of taking the right decision here.

 
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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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.
progman2000
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progman2000,
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11/17/2014 | 3:22:44 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
Yes - I am actually in the minority who loathe working from home.  I have trouble concentrating with spouses/kids milling about, even if I am no where near them.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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11/17/2014 | 3:38:30 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
I've worked from home for a long time, so my family has pretty much figured out that wandering in is frowned on. Yet my husband still does it. I am sometimes tempted to drive over to his office in the middle of the day, wait until it looks like he's deep in concentration, then walk in and ask if we have any more milk.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 10:11:08 AM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
Lorna,

Oh man!

You have really-really hit in on the head here!

As someone who constantly works from home(primarily to beat the time & Money wasted commuting);I can't tell you how many times I wish I could lock myself up in my Room to get things done on time !!!

Unfortunately,when you have family life;you have to make time for them whether you like it or not!

I try very hard but I don't think I have found the Ideal Work-Life Balance.Have you?

Regards

Ashish.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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11/19/2014 | 10:52:00 AM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
@Ashish - The problem half resolved itself when my daughter went off to college! When she & my husband are home and I need to focus, I have been known to put on my headset and pretent I am on a call. But you're right, family comes first, so all in all, I try to be grateful that I have loved ones to interrupt me :-D
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 11:29:46 AM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
Lorna,

For sure ,That is the smart way of looking at things here.

LOL!!!

Ashish.
soozyg
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soozyg,
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11/19/2014 | 2:31:30 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
@Lorna

I am sometimes tempted to drive over to his office in the middle of the day, wait until it looks like he's deep in concentration, then walk in and ask if we have any more milk.

That's awesome! You should totally try that one day ; )
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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11/17/2014 | 5:34:43 PM
Re: I would think the Tech sector was be at a decreased risk here...
If you work from home, it really helps to have a way to isolate yourself so people don't wander in.
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.
Craig Matsumoto
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Craig Matsumoto,
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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.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 10:44:37 AM
Re: corporation vs. tech
soozyg,

I don't think it matters so much whether you work for a Large Corporation or a startup.

What matters most is YOU.

Do you feel its important as a New Father to take a Paternity Break?

If yes,you will definitely take it.Irrespective of what others think about it.

What will happen when you come back to work? A little bit of sniggering and Gentle Ribbing for a while?

Then they will remember something else and forget about your Leave.

However,You will go away from the experience a much happier and more fulfilled person.

Regards

Ashish.

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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11/17/2014 | 3:46:08 PM
Realism on paternity leave
Men and women will both have times in their careers when, as I once heard a female CIO describe it, you put the gas pedal down on your career, and times when you must ease up a bit on speed. This may be because you're a new parent, you're caring for an aging parent, someone in your family is ill...just because you have this kind of need does not mean you won't come back ready to give 100%. In fact if your company does treat you like a human being during this situation, it should only increase your loyalty to the company. As for paternity leave, it's a positive development. Men will have to model actually taking it, so it's the norm not the exception.
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 10:26:43 AM
Re: Realism on paternity leave
Laurianne,

Do you really feel most Companies(especially large Corporations) treat you as Human Beings today?

I don't think so.

Especially if you are'nt in the Top Tier I see very little Humanity per se from them.

The Bottomline I feel is you have to make time for stuff you feel is important in your life.

Is earning that extra 10%-20% more if you take a month off for paternity leave(in a Year) really that important for you and your family?

Can you buy one Less iThingy per year or take one less vacation per year or delay buying a new car by 6 months more instead?

If you can manage you should do it.

This is the way I strongly believe every Dad should look at the situation.

Regards

Ashish.

 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
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11/19/2014 | 9:57:10 AM
This is largely an American Problem
Guys,

I was reading a great article on the BBC on a similar issue recently-www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141106-the-no-vacation-nation

They called America;the "No Vacation Nation" because it is'nt compulsary for Organizations to offer their Employees Paid Leave as against most of rest of the Developed World where some Paid Vacation days are guaranteed in their labor laws(usually a MINIMUM of 30 days /year).


This problem is not going to go away or reduce in the coming days either as more and more Labor in America is either Part-time or on Contract Labor who don't get the same Rights as Permanent Workers.

Its how Corporate America works today unfortunately.Keep Squeezing the Employee until they quit on their own and then replace them with someone else.As most IT labor force also works by the same rules you can't blame men from not taking enough time off as "Paternity Leave".

What's the solution?

Take Time off whether or not its paid for when you feel you are at your Wits end.

In the case of parenting ;the Men should also take time off;maybe not at the same time as the Mother but at a time which helps them to relieve the immense strain there is on New Moms.

Regards

Ashish.

 
kstaron
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kstaron,
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11/20/2014 | 11:16:06 AM
Primary income earner tends to worry more
When I had my first my husband took a few weeks off (basically until it became non-paid leave). But the downside was that was billed as vacation time so he didn't have any in reserve. For him is was less about stigma and more about being the primary breadwinner having get back in there to earn the bread. One of his coworkers recently had his first and he wasn't planning on taking alot of time off. He didn't want anyone to think they could do without him for any length of time.

Regardless of what the laws say you can do there is a fear that after a longer term sabattical such as paternity leave some poeple may think they don't really need your position, or someone for your workload. Which means when the next round of cuts comes...  Men are still most oftem the primary income, especially directly after a birth, and more men are in It so I'm not suprised that there is some feeling of stigma associated with taking a long time off, especially if deadlines or layoffs are looming.

 
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
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11/20/2014 | 2:22:51 PM
Re: Primary income earner tends to worry more
I think that employers need to be supportive of both, mem and women, after the birth or adoption of a child. I think it is disgraceful that we have not become more supportive of emplyees in this area. Companies and employers are often notice in advance to make necessary arrangements to fill the void in the absence of the employee. It is sad that we are in a day and age where employees are scared about the consequences of taking time to bond with their new child.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
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11/21/2014 | 2:32:51 PM
Re: Primary income earner tends to worry more
I'm afraid that is what a private job means. You can have no time off. The working standards in the states are even more horrible. They even have so many less yearly holidays compared to the other countries. And finding out time for the family is necessary in order to live happy. The companies seem to feed the lust inside employees with more perks and better working conditions, not to mention a hiked pay, but all of this so that the employee spends most of his time in caring for the company.
yalanand
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yalanand,
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11/30/2014 | 7:03:35 AM
Re: Primary income earner tends to worry more
I don't think such practices would change unless the Congress passes a bill in the Assembly. The government makes money from all these companies from the taxes they pay. Easing up on the individual employee would mean decreased taxes which the government won't want. But I hope they ease up on the new fathers at least.
anon9213443932
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anon9213443932,
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11/20/2014 | 2:47:24 PM
Re: Primary income earner tends to worry more
I think its the making of the West particularly the United States now being convieniently expored to the "east". The stigma is a creation of sociental changes where some people think having or creating a family is not important. Its more so evident with some people bragging that they have not taken any vacation in couple of years! BTW, compaies seem to reward this kind of behavior by promotions and other perks....

I think Western "society" should demand this & incorporate not necesarily as "paternity" leave but in other forms like flex time etc. This will go a long way in building societies that are "responsible" and productive.

Otherwise its impossible to build that "equitable" society where both men and women are equally productive & develop "meaningful" cultures that god intended us to do!
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
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11/23/2014 | 9:53:21 PM
Re: Primary income earner tends to worry more
@anon: I like how to describe "flex time" because not all copanies like to give complete leave especially if you are a working class (engineer, software designer, and none of the management class), but they can give a little bit flexibility to the dads who start at 9 and go to home at 7 in the evening. 
cduggan804
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cduggan804,
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12/3/2014 | 8:20:10 PM
The choice and consequence is always ours
I'm surprised at the number of people who seem to think that paternity/maternity leave is something to be borne by the company for whom they work. The company didn't choose to have a child, so why should the burden fall to the company to support that precious life? Maternity leave has its roots in allowing the mother time to recover from the birth. More recently, we see the value to society in allowing time for the parents to bond with the child and, certainly, it aids in mom's speedier recovery to have dad's help at home as well. However, societal benefits of parental bonding aside, it is not an employer's responsibility to fund an employee not to work--it is an employer's responsibility to remain a viable place to work, to stay solvent, and to continue to be able to provide a steady paycheck and meet its obligations to all its employees and stakeholders. We all make choices all through our adult lives. Parental responsibilities include choosing the commitment to stay at home and sometimes take a financial hit for the greater benefit to our family, if that's necessary. Just like choosing not to go on vacation and put money into a college fund; it's not always what we want to do, but what we need to do.

The choices and consequences will vary by our individual environments, but they are always ours.
Willpower99
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Willpower99,
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1/7/2015 | 6:52:39 PM
Re: The choice and consequence is always ours
In the best of circumstances having a child is a choice, but as adults we also should recognize that in some, hopefully few cases children are an unintended consequence of a mature recreational activity. I'm not here to suggest any moral opinion of what should happen in such cases.

To your argument most companies offer AD&D & health insurance. Should that also company provided insurance exclude coverage for risky activities that employees enjoy such as motorcycling, auto racing, skydiving, and scuba diving activities to reduce premiums? Even though I don't participate in those activities I would argue no. Why? Because those activities make certain employees happy just as having children does. If I understand your argument, one could also make the case for eliminating employer paid vacation all together. Want time off to enjoy your hobbies? Take the time off without pay.

I think the argument should be re-framed in terms of more time off for special life challenges, whether it be to care for a newborn, adopted child, ill parent or severe illness (such as cancer) of the employee. Those who work more should and likely will be rewarded anyway with higher compensation and titles.


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