Parenthood

New dad’s dilemma: How much time to take off from work

June 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM ET

To take paternity leave or not to take it? That is the question for many new dads.
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To take paternity leave or not to take it? That is the question for many new dads.

For many working dads, having a baby is a joyous event – but figuring out whether to take some time off from work with that newborn is fraught with anxiety.

For one thing, babies are expensive – and not many companies offer dads paid time off.

Yahoo Inc. drew plenty of accolades earlier this year when it announced a policy granting new dads up to eight weeks of paid paternity leave, with benefits. But experts say that kind of generosity is far outside the norm.

The Families and Work Institute, a research organization that studies how families are changing, found that only 14 percent of employers who provide paternity leave pay for some of Dad’s time off.

Even if you can afford to take some time without pay, many dads may feel hesitant to be out of the office for more than a few days.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that many dads also are shy to take paternity leave because of the stigma attached. The Journal also noted that many dads who take time out of the office still end doing some work at home, besides the work of caring for a newborn.

Advocates say they have been heartened by companies like Yahoo extending generous paid policies to dads, and they hope that will spur more companies to offer those benefits. Still, many companies would argue that such perks are expensive.

“The more you can make it possible for people to take care of their personal needs during life-changing moments, the easier it is for them to get back to being productive employees as well,” Kenneth Matos, senior director of employment research and practice at the Families and Work Institute, told TODAY in April.


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