Parental Leave: U.S. Dads Less Likely To Take Unpaid Leave
The U.S. is unique among developed nations in having no legislation for paid parental leave. Despite that, some companies grant new mothers and fathers some time off. New America, a D.C. based thing tank, have released a comprehensive new study about men's interest in and ability to take time off work in the case of new additions to their families. It found that men who took parental leave were far more likely to say the time off was fully paid than women.
Based on a survey of 2,966 mothers and fathers, the survey found that 55 percent of mothers took some kind of leave due to the birth or adoption of a child, compared to 48 percent of fathers. 33 percent of mothers who took time off were fully paid, 19 percent were partly paid and 40 percent took time off without any pay. The picture looks different among fathers, however, with 52 percent staying on their full wage during their time on parental leave while 14 percent were partly paid. Just under a quarter of fathers availed of the time off without pay.
One of the reasons for the disparity is that mothers in several states can access paid maternity leave through their disability insurance, an option which is not available to fathers. Another is the fact that U.S. fathers are reluctant to take paternity leave unless its fully paid. This can be down to several factors, such as financial necessity but cultural pressure also plays a role. Many new fathers feel they have to prioritize earning money over family time while the opposite can be true of mothers who have to deal with the cultural pressures of motherhood and caring for new family members.
This chart shows the % of U.S. parents who took parental leave and who were fully, partly or not paid in 2019.
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