According to a new report, "Dads Expect Better," conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, at least 66 countries guarantee a father’s right to paid paternal leave –- 31 offer 14 weeks or more. The United States is not one of those countries.
Working moms in America are well aware that our laws around maternity leave fall severely short when compared to those of other developed countries. This new report shows that dads, too, are getting the shaft. Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), fathers have access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but because of restrictions -– for example, businesses that have fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the rule -- only some dads are eligible.
National Partnership president Debra L. Ness wrote in a HuffPost blog that, as a country, "America's families expect and deserve better.” But when the data is broken down, some states do prove to be more progressive than others. According to the new report, 14 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place that benefit both mom and dad, while 18 states implement laws only applicable to moms, and 18 do nothing beyond what federal law requires.
"Studies have shown that dad's involvement is just as important to a child's cognitive and social development as the impact of mom," Dr. Jody Heymann, co-author of "Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone," told National Geographic in 2010. Heymann explained that when fathers take time off work when babies are born, children fare better developmentally and mothers are less likely to suffer from depression.
In May, the National Partnership for Women & Families released “Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents” to break down parental leave laws state by state and document which states could use improvement.
With "Dads Expect Better," the organization highlighted the best states for new working dads. See them below, with text provided by the National Partnership for Women & Families. For methodology and more information, view the full report.