Should new California dads take paternity leave?
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Should new California dads take paternity leave?

New fathers in California should strongly consider taking paternity leave to spend time with their baby. Doing so is beneficial to newborns and parents.

Often, we hear talk of maternity leave and a woman making arrangements with her California employer to secure her position as she takes care of her newborn baby. That said, new fathers also have the option of taking off from work to spend time with and help support their newborn. Understanding the benefits of paternity leave could encourage more men to exercise this right.

Fathers make a difference

While new fathers may take a week or so off to spend time with their baby boy or girl, there are benefits to taking several weeks off from work. For one, it gives men the time to become fathers in more than just name only. Additionally, studies show that fathers who pay attention to the way their baby cries have a deeper connection with their children. The more time spent with a baby, the better the ability to “translate” different cries. Infant minds also show better development when babies spend more time with dad.

Mothers appreciate it, too

When women take maternity leave at the same time as when the baby’s father takes time off work, the woman is less likely to become depressed in the months following the birth. Also, mothers can have an easier time making and letting down milk when they have help from the father in taking care of a newborn.

Schedule time off the right way

Just as it can take some time to get used to raising a child, it can take some work figuring out how to schedule paternity leave. It is a good idea to stagger leave: taking two weeks off after the baby is born, three more when the baby is three months old and the remainder between when the baby is six to nine months old. Setting things up so that mom and dad are on leave at the same time is a great idea. Not only is this a good way to make the most of paternity leave, but it can also take off some of the financial pressure that often comes with unpaid leave.

Work with HR

Fathers-to-be should work out paternity leave with HR and their bosses well in advance of taking their leave. Specifically, they should discuss how they plan on meeting their day-to-day duties while away. This can help reassure employers and better ensure a father retains his position while on leave. Also, this makes his workload easier when it is time to get back to work.

Expectant fathers working in California should know their rights regarding paternity leave. Sitting down with a legal professional familiar with FMLA is a good way to cover all legal bases and focus on connecting with a newborn.