As an addendum to yesterday’s blog post on parental leave policies, the NY Times provided some of the reasons most men do not take advantage of their legal right of unpaid FMLA for 12 weeks: “Some decline for economic reasons, but for others, it is fear that keeps them in the workplace — fear of being ridiculed, fear of being discriminated against, even fear of losing their jobs — some specialists say.” A dated article from May 2000, The Fear of Taking Paternity Leave by Melinda Ligos still shares some current and interesting thoughts about this controversial topic.
In our dads’ group conversation last week, we discussed how paternity leave needed the support of senior management & had to be trickled down from the top level of an organization. If new dads in senior management started to take off for 3 months when their kids were born, other employees would follow suit. Then, it might be more of an accepted or standard practice.
Later in the Times article, it states ”While their organizations may profess to be family-friendly, their bosses are giving them the message that men who take leave are not very manly, or are somehow letting down the team.” This statement made me think about something my buddy Matt said – “it is tough to think about parental leave if CEOs don’t support having a family in the first place.” He was referring to a recent Wall Street Journal article, Welch: ‘No Such Thing as Work-Life Balance’ by Cari Tuna & Joann S. Lublin, where former GE CEO Jack Welch spoke at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference and “told women climbing the corporate ladder: you may have to choose between taking time off to raise children and reaching the corner office”…and “There’s no such thing as work-life balance.”
Please share your thoughts on this topic…
just a quick note on this…
in order to be a senior manager with the means to make a diference in the workplace, much time has been put in at the sacrifice of the family unit. this being said, it would be nice for senior management to try and make a difference, but i somehow don’t see this as realistic. i think we have a much better chance of the small business owner, like myself, to try and instill these types of family oriented facets into the workplace. i think of it as more of a grassroots initiative rather than a corporate one. you don’t become jack welch by taking care of your kids the way we do. he more than likely hires help to do that. too bad small businesses typicaly don’t have the number of necessary employees to qualify for fmla.
as an fyi, i chose the window office off my living room and taking time to raise my daughter. i don’t know how long this or my business will last, but if i do have to return to the mainstream workforce, it will be one where i can spend the most possible time with my family. they have always been first in my book. maybe this is why i will never have jack welch’s money, but i have to say i am happy this way.