Disclosure: City Dads Group received compensation from Dove Men+Care.
Paid parental leave is a major cause for City Dads Group, in particular, paid paternity leave for new fathers. Despite some progress in recent years, many men still face ridicule and diminished career prospects whenever they chose family over work even for something as momentous as the birth and upbringing of a baby.
Our longtime partner Dove Men+Care aims to push the conversation forward with a new campaign asking for individuals and businesses to take a Paternity Leave Pledge to encourage the creation and use of paid time off policies for new fathers.
The men’s grooming products company also put money where its heart is on this issue. It has created a Paternity Leave Fund that will offer $5,000 grants to new fathers so they can spend time with their children without the financial worry of being away from work.
“Since we launched in 2010, the Dove Men+Care brand has communicated that modern masculinity is defined by the way men care,” Nick Soukas, vice president of skin cleansing and baby care for DM+C parent company Unilever, said in a news release. “By supporting this important initiative, our goal is to increase utilization rates of paid paternity leave for those men who have access to it and encourage other companies to come together and offer men paid paternity leave so they can take the time to care for their families.”
Only 15 percent of U.S. men have access to paid paternity leave benefits and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, most new dads don’t take their full time off — paid or unpaid. Recent studies by DM+C and others show that almost two-thirds of fathers surveyed said they have quit or would consider changing jobs to be more involved in caring for a newborn or adopted child during those critical early days, weeks and months.
Some progress has been made, especially in the past year. Starbucks, Lowe’s, CVS and Walmart are some of the major companies that have expanded or created new family leave policies, many of which focus on fathers.
City Dads faces of paid paternity leave promotion
As part of the campaign, several members of City Dads Group chapters around the county have been posting photos on social media and telling their paternity leave stories. They are also asking others to sign the Paternity Leave Pledge and spreading the word about the new grant program offered by Dove Men+Care. (You can find these by searching for #PaternityLeavePledge on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.)
Two members of our chapters and their children have also become the literal faces of the campaign. As shown in the photo at the top of this post, Brandon Billinger, bottom left, of the Kansas City Dads Group and Darren W. Carter, bottom right, organizer of our Cleveland Dads Group, appear in Dove Men+Care promotional materials. Their images appear on the DM+C website and have shown up in articles on the websites for People magazine and CNN among others.
Paternity Leave grants soon available
Dove Men+Care, which first launched its push for paternity leave in June 2018, started its Paternity Leave Fund recently with a commitment to raise at least $1 million for U.S. dads over the next two years. The fund will offer $5,000 grants to fathers who do not have access to paid paternity leave so they can be home to spend time with their new children.
“Working dads shouldn’t have to choose between their children and a paycheck — because when they take paternity leave, it benefits families, workplaces and communities,” DM+C states on its website.