Parental Leave. How do we get it?

I recently had a baby and was able to use my accrued vacation and sick time to get what I thought was an appropriate amount of leave. Not paternity leave in the sense of time off marked aside for the occasion of my son’s birth. But leave that I had access to via my foresight.  I’m not complaining.

But since having a baby, and struggling through the emotional, personal and financial trials that accompany the addition of the blessed little dark-sider, Mr. and Mrs. TTMY have had long and curious discussions about why our country does not offer better leave for both mothers and fathers upon the birth of a child.

One presupposition I have had about leave is that the more money you make, and the bigger the corporate entity you work for, the better parental leave you have access to.

Then, I read this blurb from ESPN, about our local hero, Joe Mauer. “The Minnesota Twins have reinstated catcher Joe Mauer from the restricted list after a six-game absence for the birth of his twin daughters…Mauer spent the maximum three days on the paternity list.  He was then transferred to the restricted list, which doesn’t require teams to pay players on leave.”

Major League Baseball has a three day maximum for paternity leave? That’s pathetic.

Access to leave for the birth of a child is a disaster in the US.  Everyone I have spoken to seems to agree we don’t do enough for new parents. Yet here we are. We non-profiteers get what we can. But even Joe Mauer is given only 3 days off. Yuck.

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4 responses to “Parental Leave. How do we get it?

  1. Europe has a completely different attitude towards leave and vacation. It makes me wish I could learn another language just so I could move there. It’s part of the corporate mindset of America that your life should be work-based first. As a country, we use a lower % of the vacation we’re given than people in Europe, and we’re given less vacation to start with. And that’s not even counting things like maternity/paternity leave.

      • Me too. I use all of mine that I get, but I think it has somehow been tied in to the American attitude, in that you have to work as much as humanly possible in order to be considered a success.

  2. 3 days is pretty pathetic. My husband got 9 weeks of paternity leave following the birth of both of our children. This is not a government policy for New Zealand but something his employer (a University) included as standard in their employment contracts.

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