The real reason dads don’t take paternity leave
Kelly Holmes

Sick Leave Generosity

I used to be a teacher, and my first daughter arrived two days after the new semester started, which meant 200 new kids, which meant 150 kids who were easily lost in my class. And I left them for a month thanks to having a large amount of sick leave that my principal let me use.

Well, it wasn’t a month straight. I worked one or two days a week just to make sure my students were surviving, and my mother-in-law stepped in on those days. But it was still a long time, and I thought back to the job offer I had received before that school year. I asked them about paternity leave. “We could probably give you a day…” A whole day! So I stuck to my lower-paying teaching job for another year, mostly for the sake of my wife and new baby.

I can understand why new fathers pick up more of the chores if they take paternity. Newborn babies are a lot of work, and a father who spends a lot of time with them will realize that, and adjust accordingly.

It makes me wonder if companies benefit from a family man/woman employee. You’d think a single person or someone without kids would be able to dedicate him or herself more, but maybe someone with a family has more reason to root her/himself in one place longer, and thus will be a better long-term employee. A family-oriented employee would strive harder for balance, and the hours worked would be more productive, and there’d be more integrity, less burnout.

But maybe that’s idealistic and naive of me to think. Maybe there’s no incentive to companies to hire individuals with families, other than the goodness of their hearts. And that scares me.

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