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Fathers Are Reluctant to Take Paternity Leave

Father Kissing SonWe’ve advised stay-at-home moms on preventing loss of income with financial planning, but what about fathers? Even with the growing number of stay-at-home fathers, women are still more likely to be at home with their children. Perhaps this is why Today.com published an article about how men value paternity leave but are conflicted by it.

The article cited a study from the Boston College Center for Work and Family that illustrated the value white-collar fathers place on paternity leave but added, “…many of these professional men are wary of giving up their breadwinning duties to be home with their partner and child. About half said they would require to be paid in full to take their paternity leave.”

However, as you probably know, many employers don’t offer paternity leave and the ones that do may not necessarily pay employees in full while they are away. When there is a new baby and a family cannot afford to have both parents not working, it is often (but not always) the the father who continues to work. It is understandable why some fathers feel reluctant about taking paternity leave even if it is allowed–those that don’t feel any social stigma may still be concerned about the effect an extended absence may have on their ability to keep their job.

The article includes the story of a father who had to leave a higher-paying job he liked for a lower-paying one that allowed him to spend more time at home because his wife became ill after giving birth. He was later able to return to his job after things settled down at home and said he understands why the small business he works was not able to offer him more paid leave after he’d initially taken ten vacation days.

Perhaps one day a majority of employers will offer family or parental leave that will make it possible for all parents to take off the time they need. Until then, families need to examine their finances and strategize the best way to use their resources and a Fee-Only financial planner can help.