Companies (and governments) can't go very far down the path of implementing or legislating paternity leave without coming face to face with the question-- what exactly is the purpose of paternity leave? And once this question is asked, the larger question arises: what is the purpose of any kind of parental leave?
The country is saddened, and party doesn't matter. We all share the family's loss because it can happen to any one of us. It did to me, and while I know some friends and FB acquaintances are tired of my efforts to bring child loss to the national discussion, the loss of Beau Biden compels us to talk about it.
A recent Harvard study finds the vast majority of top executives are men who admit not making their families a priority. They see work-family conflicts as primarily a "women's problem," even though studies have shown that working dads are experiencing as much work-life conflict as moms -- perhaps even more.
I asked a group of fathers to share the stories of their paternity leaves (or lack thereof). A few had very supportive employers with generous policies, some had nightmare situations that led to them find employment elsewhere, and most were unsupported and left to rely on their accumulated time off.
The responsibility for advocating for maternity leave does not fall solely on mothers and their families. It is an issue that all women must support. Regardless of whether a woman is a mother or not, she has the potential to be one. Therefore, any discriminatory behavior directed at mothers is, by extension, directed at all women.
The shifts in our economy have shown how easy it is to fall into poverty, and how hard it is to climb out. There is no upside to the fraying of the social safety net, no matter how some policymakers attempt to defend it. The consequences can be disastrous for families, disruptive to communities and a drain on the economy.