Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putting paternity leave on equal footing with maternity leave, #hrintelchat

This afternoon, from 3 – 4 pm, EST, I, along with my friend, Jeff Nowak, will be hosting a TweetChat for Thompson Information Services on the “Evolving Rights of Pregnant Employees in the Workplace.” Follow us on Twitter at #hrintelchat, and tweet your questions or comments to @ThompsonHR, @jeffreysnowak, and @JonHyman. We’ll be discussing workplace right and accommodations of pregnant employees. More information is available here.

While our TweetChat will focus on the rights of pregnant women, females aren’t the only ones that have workplace rights when it comes to new babies. According to the New York Times, even though many men have the same right to paternity leave that their female counterparts have to maternity leave, few exercise that right out of fear and stigmatization.

Paternity leave is perhaps the clearest example of how things are changing — and how they are not. Though the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 requires companies with more than 50 employees to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents, it requires no paid leave. The 14 percent of companies that do offer pay … do so by choice. Twenty percent of companies that are supposed to comply with the law, meanwhile, still don’t offer paternity leave…. And almost half the workers in the United States work at smaller companies that are not required to offer any leave at all.

Even when there is a policy on the books, unwritten workplace norms can discourage men from taking leave. Whether or not they are eligible for paid leave, most men take only about a week, if they take any time at all. For working-class men, the chances of taking leave are even slimmer.

Here are a few “don’ts” to keep in mind in managing new dads in your workplace.

  • Don’t forget the men in your workplace when you’re crafting leave policies.
  • Don’t deny leaves to new dads doling out post-childbirth leaves of absence.
  • Don’t punish those that use those policies and leaves, such as limiting promotions, opportunities, or raises.
  • Don’t apply unconscious stereotypes about the dedication or loyalty of men who take leaves of absence for familial responsibilities.