Parents are not normal workers. Instead, they have a family and kids to look after back home. In some instances, parents can take off from their work at certain times. These times could be, but are not limited to, giving birth to a child. When a mother gives birth to a child, she can take either paid or unpaid leaves.
There are hundreds of studies that show that parents who take leaves from work at the time – and after giving birth – develop a strong bond and relationship with their children. Unfortunately, there are no paid parental, or maternity leaves in the U.S.
Here is what parents in the United States can do: They will submit an application for paternity leaves, and the organization will review it. Upon approval, the parent – either the mother, the father, or both – can take unpaid leaves. That is right! Parental leaves are unpaid in the United States.
Thus, if you want to take paternity leaves, two major things will be contributing to it: The state you are living in. And the company you are working with. Because some states in the U.S. do offer paid leaves, similarly, some private companies do offer paid paternity leaves too. So, it depends on where you live and which company you are working with.
Legally speaking, you are not eligible to take paid paternity leaves in the U.S. – with the exception of a few states. But if you are lucky enough to work with a company that takes care of its employees and offers paid paternity leaves, why not? Good for you! Apply for it and grab the opportunity.
There is a law in the U.S. that deals with paternity leaves. The law is called FMLA, better known as the Family and Medical Leave Act. According to this act, you are eligible to take paternity leaves at the time and after giving birth. But it is unpaid. In other words, you are ‘legally’ eligible for paternity leaves. But there is no surety about whether or not it will be paid.
Are Paternity Leaves Common in the United States?
Not so! In other parts of the world, paternity leaves are common, and employees opt for them every now and then. Countries like Australia and New Zealand top the list.
According to the latest reports, less than 5% of American workers take paternity leaves – and the vast majority who do take paternity leaves do not get paid for them.
To cope with this, American workers take paternity and maternity leaves accordingly. For instance, if the mother takes leave right after the birth of the child, the father continues to work. Once the maternity leave of the mother is over, the father takes paternity leaves. Of course, both are unpaid, but this ‘sync’ enables parents to manage their living expenses accordingly.