5 Important Facts about Dads and Family Leave

A father and his daughter
stock image of daughter and dad

We all know that every father plays an important role in his family’s health and well-being, and that it’s good for a father to take time off to be with his family when a new child arrives. But do you know how crucial it is?

Fact 1: Fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to change diapers and dress their children, even after they go back to work.

In families where both parents take parental leave, both parents are more likely to do their fair share of caregiving, and that promotes gender equity.

Fact 2: Researchers have found that young children whose fathers engage with them do better on assessments for mental and social development.

More than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second in a young child’s brain, so every moment matters.

Fact 3: For every month that a dad took leave, one study found that the mother in the family saw her pay rise 7 percent.

The whole household benefits from this increase in lifetime income.

Yet, even in California . . .

Fact 4: Only 36 percent of parents who take leave to bond with a newborn, newly adopted or new foster child are fathers.

That’s true even though more and more fathers report wanting to be with their new babies.

Fact 5: Millions of California parents — nearly half of all employees in the state — can’t be sure they’ll still have a job if they take parental leave.

It gets worse: Millions of new parents can still be demoted, suspended, or fired for taking even one day of parental leave because they are not covered by existing laws.

You can help make a difference by calling on your legislators to vote for SB 63, the New Parent Leave Act, introduced by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara).  It’s already passed the Senate.

Tell your Assemblymember to give dads the support they need (find yours here).

For more information about your leave rights, visit Legal Aid at Work’s website (use the interactive at that link to determine your own eligibility for parental leave).

For more information on how to support SB 63, visit the California Work and Family Coalition’s website.

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