By Elisabeth Buchwald, Market Watch
Taking time off from work when a new child arrives isn’t just for moms. Fathers are taking advantage of the benefit too — in the few workplaces that have it.
Studies indicate that the first 12 weeks of a baby’s life are the most important weeks of their entire life, and it is during this time they develop an eternal bond with their parental figures. However, many fathers miss their baby’s very first smile among other milestones that occur during this time. Why? Because they are more likely than mothers to be at work.
This is partially due to the fact that approximately only 14% of U.S. employers offer paid paternity leave. Furthermore, paid or unpaid, nearly 40% of all American workers are not offered job-protected leave.
But that’s slowly changing. California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York most recently have all passed laws requiring employers to offer paid family leave (PFL) to fathers and mothers.
New York’s PFL program went into effect in January. It’s unique in that is made possible through public-private partnerships, meaning that it is governed by the state but coverage is provided by private insurance carries like ShelterPoint Life Insurance Co., which reported that 27% of claims for paid time off were filed by fathers.
Currently, ShelterPoint has 157,000 employer policyholders which equates to 1.5 million employees who are eligible to receive PFL.
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