Mobile Toggle
btn-shop-fathersourcehomepage-btnbrn-free-resources
rsstwfbenews

The Father Factor

subpage-image

Why is Daniel Murphy's Paternity Leave a Story?

I realize that there's some inherent level of stupidity in "viral" discussions, but still, what seems to be behind the latest argument is surprisingly anti-fatherhood.

daniel-murphy-ny-metsEarlier this week New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy exercised a clause in his Major League Baseball contract that allows him to skip a few games for paternity leave so he could be present at his first child's birth, and subsequently stay with his wife and new baby for a few days before he goes back to his grueling pro athlete schedule.

In response, a couple of sports commentators at WFAN radio in New York City not only criticized him on air for not prioritizing his obligation to the team properly (they apparently think paternity leave is stupid and not for "real men"), but even suggested that his wife should have had a c-section so the birth would have been more conveniently scheduled between Mets games.

Obviously, these two guys are chowderheads just looking for publicity (which I'm trying to avoid by not naming them here), but it still raises the question: why is this a story that's gotten any attention in the first place?

What really bothers me is that we are still at a point where men need to lobby for paternity leave and where other men are unsupportive when a father decides to take some time off from his job to be with his wife and newborn child... and that we are still at a point where this is even a discussion at all.

I believe Murphy is absolutely right to make this decision regardless of the consequences for the NY Mets baseball team, and that the WFAN commentators are just showing that they deserve our pity and our sympathy for being knuckle-dragging primates in the modern world.

What's your take? Should the needs of the team ever outweigh family, and if so, when?

And congratulations to Daniel and his wife on the addition of a new family member.

Why no paid paternity leave?

The U.S. is the only western country that does not mandate paid parental leave (for neither moms nor dads) upon the birth of a child. On top of that, only about 15% of U.S. companies voluntarily offer paid paternity leave.

What this results in are a lot of dads who would like to take time off at the birth of their child, but who do not have the ability to do so. (We of course can take unpaid leave through FMLA, but not everyone is able to pull this off financially).

This is problematic. Much research has shown that there is a "magic moment" around the birth of a child when dads are most receptive to learning about and engaging in fatherhood. If you can get dads involved at these earliest stages, it is more likely they will stay involved for the long run.

Unfortunately, the U.S. has a policy (or lack thereof) that is interfering with new fathers' ability to connect with their children from birth.

There has been some movement in Congress to change this, but the bad economy has stalled those efforts. The Family Leave Insurance Act and the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act are two bills that would guarantee paid leave.

Were you unable to take paternity leave when your child was born because your company wouldn't pay for it? Let us know.

The Father Factor Blog: News, tips, and tools for dads and those helping dads.

Search Our Blog

Topics