Paternity leave is a temporary absence from an employee’s position following a child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement. All eligible employees can request paternity leave after they have been employed by a company for a certain amount of time; in most cases, the company policy approves employees working for one year or more.
The weeks and months after having a baby, fostering or adopting a new child, and welcoming him/her into your family can be an enormous change. So, when settling into this change, parents often feel the need to take some time off work and focus their attention and care on themselves and the new member of their daily. The United States is one of only a few countries without some form of paid parental leave that is guaranteed under law at a national level.
Nonetheless, spending some time away from work is necessary. Even though your employer may provide for paternity leave, many people feel uneasy asking for it, this works for both the mother and father. Fathers feel uncomfortable and anxious to ask for a few weeks off since their boss might wonder why a man has to help take care of a child when it is traditionally a “woman’s role.” In comparison, mothers are hesitant to ask the leave directly as they fear being sacked or replaced during their leave.
No matter the reason for feeling uncomfortable in asking for paternity leave, asking for it can create fear and uncertainty about your job security and/or your future career, among other things. The following tips will help you ask for your designated holidays with confidence:
Learn employer’s policies
Although more jurisdictions are making paid maternity leave a part of labor law, many places still do not have sufficient policies for new dads taking time off. That said, many companies are reacting to the growing demand in the marketplace, especially when they are trying to retain talent. Therefore, it is important to get in touch with your boss and learn what the firm’s policies are and how you can take advantage of the system in place. Speak to colleagues, and get as much information from your HR department as possible.
Make a plan
Whether you have some form of parental leave or only vacation, sick time, or short-term unpaid leave, it’s helpful to come armed with a plan. Create a plan with flexible schedules that work best for you and your family. Your plan should include deadlines, events, and projects and should be organized clearly. Prioritize the work that needs to continue in your absence and figure out how many hours need to be reassigned weekly.
Always have a Plan B
Be prepared to suggest alternatives. If your request is denied or if you’re not given the amount or type of leave you want, offer alternatives, such as working from home, working part-time, or using accrued vacation/sick days.