Issue of Paternity Leave Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Paternity leave has emerged as one of the debatable issues in today's society, especially because of the changing nature of the modern workplace. Generally, many new fathers tend to return to work after celebrating the birth of their newborns. Fathers barely take time off after the birth of their children despite of the need to take paternity leave. Actually, based on the findings of a survey on working fathers by the Center for Work and Family at Boston College, fathers rarely take time off after the birth of their children (Hall, 2013). Even in situations where men are offered paid paternity leave, most of them won't take it mainly because of the stigma associated with such measures. The issue of paternity leave has generated numerous arguments and counter-arguments between proponents and opponents respectively. An analysis of these arguments demonstrates that paternity leave is vital to promote the involvement of both parent in their children's upbringing.

Background of Paternity Leave:

Paternal leave is an employment incentive that is available in many countries that offer paid time off work to care for children or prepare for the welfare of a child. This type of leave was recently introduced as part of parental or family leave, which also includes maternal leave and adoption leave. It can basically be described as the time a father takes off work during the birth or adoption of a child. While it is rarely paid, paternity leave has emerged as an important employee benefit and an initiative that is geared towards promoting increased involvement of fathers in the upbringing of their children, especially in the early stages of birth. This employee benefit was mainly introduced because of the changing nature of the modern workplace.

There are various progressive companies and organizations that provide new fathers paid time off that range from a few days to several weeks. In the past decades, several states have enacted policies that offer paid family leave, especially to new dads. While other states consider the adoption of such policies, many new dads are in the meantime taking sick leave or vacation time upon the birth of their children. Moreover, there is an increase in the number of fathers taking unpaid parental leave from work to spend more time with their newborn children. However, this number is still very minimal since most of the fathers provided paternity leave opt not to take time off work.

Since its emergence, paternity leave has remained to be a controversial issue that has attracted numerous debates. Proponents of paternity leave base their arguments on the premise that the modern workplace is increasingly changing and necessitates the involvement of new dads in upbringing of their children. On the contrary, opponents base their claims on the premise that the practice is unnatural and unorthodox.

Opposition to Paternity Leave:

Despite its probable benefits, paternity leave has attracted or generated some opposition based on various arguments and claims. One of the opposing arguments is the consideration of paternity leave as unnatural since men tend to enjoy their jobs more than they do looking after their children (Delingpole, 2009). While this does not imply that men do not love their children, they would prefer leaving the care-giving job to the recognized expert in the field i.e. The mother. As a result, paternity leave is considered unnecessary and unnatural as men would rather stay in their jobs, which they consider second to their nature. Secondly, paternity leave is opposed on the basis that men do nothing because it is the mother who carries around the baby in her womb before birth. During this period, men primarily focus on providing for their family and do not undergo the pain associated with carrying the child in the womb or the pain that comes with birth or labor pains. Third, paternity leave is opposed on the premise that it is only the mothers who need to recover and heal from the pain they endure while giving birth. Women or mothers need leave from work in order to have time to heal from the mental and physical pain arising from carrying the child in the womb and giving birth. Since men do not carry children in their womb or give birth, they do not need time to heal from any physical or mental pain or issues.

Analysis of Opponents Claim:

These arguments in opposition to paternity leave in today's working environment are valid and logical. One of the major strengths of the arguments is that they are based on the traditional roles of men and women in the family. Secondly, the arguments are based on the evaluation of the roles men and women play in the months that lead to child birth. It is quite evident that men have very little roles to play during this period except to provide for the family. They are not directly involved in carrying the child or child birth, which implies that they do not necessarily need time off work. However, the arguments also contain some weaknesses despite being valid or logical. The first weakness is that the arguments do not consider the changing role of men and women in the society. There is need to appreciate and consider that men and women have adopted new roles because of the changes in the modern society. Secondly, these claims seem very traditional and do not raise issues that are relevant to the present age.

My Claim:

Paternity leave is vital in today's society in order to promote the involvement of new dads in the upbringing of their children by providing necessary support to mothers during the initial stages after child birth. This is mainly because such practice is based on the state of the modern society, which has not only transformed the role of men and women but also changed the nature of today's workplace. The state of the modern society and workplace requires that no parent should be left behind in child care and upbringing (Cohn, 2014). Through providing and encouraging paternity leave, fathers will be encouraged to engage in their children's upbringing without interfering with their traditional role as providers.

Generally, the modern workforce has changed dramatically, particularly because of the increase in women's participation and the prevalence of two-breadwinner families. These changes necessitate the transformation of necessary conditions for promoting productivity. One of these conditions that require changes is providing and encouraging paternity leave to help in addressing childcare of newborns. The encouragement of paternity leave is also an important measure in transforming the treatment of working families in order to promote economic growth.

While opponents to paternity leave have logical and valid reasons to support their arguments, they should consider this practice in light of the state of the modern society, workforce, and working environment. This will enable them to examine the significance of this practice from a modern point-of-view rather than an orthodox perspective. Based on findings of recent studies, when both parents get time off to spend with newborns, their babies tend to grow healthier (Cohn 2014). Whitehouse, Diamond & Baird (2007) argue that paternity leave has potential benefits for family well-being and gender equity (p.402). The caring father role model is promoted and reinforced through the existence and use of paternity (Meil, 2013, p.569). The common ground for between the opponents' argument and my claim is that paternity leave is not entirely about the new dads only.

In conclusion, paternity leave is an issue that has gained significant attention in the recent past mainly because of the changes in the modern workplace and the prevalence of two-breadwinner families. While opponent have raised logical and valid arguments, their claim is based on the evaluation of traditional roles of men and women. The common ground between their claim and mine is that paternity leave is not entirely about…

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