It has long been established that women in the workforce are entitled to maternity leave. The time for delivering and staying with the baby afterwards is established by law and over and above that minimum time allotted, certain companies give additional time as part of their employee benefits package. However, the needs of the father to take time out to help his wife and care for their newborn are a fairly recent occurrence. The Family and Medical Act of 1993 established the guidelines for paternal leave in the United States.
Having said that, many fathers cannot afford to take paternity leave. Unlike other countries that pay a part or the entire salary for paternity leave, fathers in the USA can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave. Suffice to say that means men earning higher incomes will take more time off than men in lower paying jobs. The State of California became the first state to offer paid parental leave and certain other states such as Oregon, Washington DC, and Vermont are followed suit. A few more states are presently toying with the idea of having parental leave.
Other issues that surface regarding unmarried couples.
Is paternity leave granted to men who have live-in girlfriends or couples who live in separate homes? Because women are visibly pregnant there is no doubt in the employers’ minds about the pregnancy. However there is no way of telling just by looking at a man if he is indeed about to become a father. Many men still remain reluctant to take paternity leave even when it is offered to them. Some men feel that taking time off would jeopardize their positions in the company they work for while others feel they will be considered effeminate. Most of these men feel that the culture we live in just does not empathize with men who ask for paternity leave so that they can spend the time they need for the good of their family; away from the work environment.
Unmarried men must establish paternity of the child if they are to claim paternity leave, certain government and medical benefits, settle inheritance issues and more. This procedure is specific and bothersome to a certain extent. They must sign a sworn declaration including their signature and the signature of the mother. They must establish paternity through the court. They must be willing to undergo DNA testing. A legal paternity tests can be obtained through a DNA test center. After all of this, if the couples is not in a position to legally marry, the question remains how many men will go through the entire procedure just to claim unpaid paternity leave?