“Loser” and “a little weird” were among the more printable reactions after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and her husband, Chasten, brought their twins home. The attack perfectly summed up the stigma that has prevented some working fathers from taking advantage of these family policies, despite the social and economic benefits.
Buttigieg, who adopted Penelope Rose and Joseph August this year and announced her departure in August, said in an interview with ABC News that the reviews were positive because they started a conversation.
“We are almost the only country in the world that does not have a policy of some kind… and when parents take this parental leave, they need to be supported,” he said. “If there is this idea that maybe men have access to paternity leave but it is frowned upon if they actually use it… that implies this assumption that the woman is going to do all the work.”
The pandemic has put the struggles of working parents at the center of the scene. In particular, a shortage of childcare services has prevented women from re-entering the labor market and slows job growth. Between February 2020 and February 2021, more than 2.3 million women left the workforce, bringing their participation rate to 57% – lower than at any time since 1988, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. United.
As more men take advantage of parental leave when it is available, the criticisms that have erupted over Buttigieg are a reminder that a stigma still exists. According to a 2019 study by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, only 62% of men take all of the leave they are entitled to, compared to 93% of women. Some men only take part of the available time.
How does paid paternity leave work?
While many countries offer paid leave for both parents after the birth of a child, the United States does not, so it varies by state.
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, nine states and the District of Columbia have paid family leave programs ranging from six to 12 weeks of leave. Federal government workers, on the other hand, are entitled to up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
In most states, employers decide how much time off work to give to workers. This has led to inequalities, with most of the better paid workers enjoying paid time off.
What is the stigma around paternity leave?
Some men who have access to paid leave say they are reluctant to take it. They fear it will damage their reputation, put them at a disadvantage for promotions and affect their earning potential.
A 2016 survey by Deloitte found that men were much more likely to say they did not intend to use paid parental leave, with one in three saying their jobs could be in jeopardy. Men who take paternity leave tend to lose their status in the workplace, as employers question their commitments to their work if they take too much leave, study by Willamette University law professor finds , Keith Cunningham-Parmeter.
Money also goes into leave decisions. Men were more likely to take longer leaves if their full wages weren’t reduced, according to a 2019 article from the Boston College Center for Work & Family. A 2014 study by the center found that five in six employed fathers said they would not take paternity leave unless at least 70% of their salary was paid.
– Tribune press service