Sunday, November 10, 2013

Standing Up for the Rights of New Fathers

The NY Times reports:
Josh Levs, father of a new baby girl, emerged from his sleep-deprived stupor last month to take a stand: He is challenging his employer’s parental leave policy on the grounds that it discriminates against biological dads.

This was his third child, and this time around, he said he felt compelled to take action. So Mr. Levs, a reporter at CNN, filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Time Warner, his employer’s parent company.

He took his case public on his Tumblr page, where he laid out his reasoning: Birth mothers are entitled to 10 weeks of paid leave. The same policy applies to both men and women who adopt or have children through a surrogate. Biological fathers, on the other hand, receive only two paid weeks.

There aren’t any federal laws that explicitly prohibit discrimination against workers with family responsibilities, but some states and municipalities have more specific protections. The types of claim filed by Mr. Levs is brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enforced by the E.E.O.C., which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex. Mothers who claim they were treated differently from men with children file claims under the law, and so do fathers who say they were denied leave or benefits available to female caregivers.

That’s generally what Mr. Levs is contending. “If I gave up my child for adoption, and some other guy at Time Warner adopted her, he would get 10 weeks off, paid, to take care of her,” he wrote on his Tumblr page. “I, however, the biological father, can’t.”
I usually side with the dad on issues like this, but I have to admit that childbirth is a little more traumatic for the mom than the dad, and there is more reason for maternal leave than paternal leave. I do not see a need for the feds to intervene in a case like this. But if blind egalitarian thinking leads to better recognition of parental rights for dads in other areas, so much the better.
And when men take time off after the birth of a child, it can have lasting ripple effects. Not only does it help create a connection with the child, but it sets the stage for a more egalitarian division of labor at home over the longer term. It could also help equalize the perception when women take time off. “If it is true that women will not be equal in the workplace until men are equal at home,” Ms. Calvert added, “it has greater repercussions as well.”
This is a fantasy.

2 comments:

lisa said...


Where I work, any guy who takes the full "paternity" leave, he is going to be respected less and never promoted unless he is irreplaceable.

and that is not women who respect less, its fellow men.

admittedly, i dont work for the most progressive of companies but we allow men to take 8 weeks of leave (though its not all paid).

i will add that women who are making good money and planning to go back to work, do lots of work from home. someone will steal your job when you go on maternity leave if you let them. It wont be stolen immediately but you will come back with less power, less prestige, etc if you are not careful.

Anonymous said...

Yet another classic example of how fathers NOT MOTHERS, are blatantly discriminated against in our corrupt completely court system. If females want everything to be equal with men, well then, it has to be equal...
What part of 'equal' don't you get?