paternity leave

The Upside and Downside to Paternity Leave

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is due to give birth in a few months and I’m trying to work something out with my employer to take some leave after the baby is born. What’s a good amount of time to take off?

A: Great question—one which, unfortunately, has no single answer that will work for everyone. That said, I recommend that you take off as much as you’re able to—without jeopardizing your job or your family’s finances.

Your first order of business is to do some research into what types of legally mandated leave programs you’re eligible for. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides many employees (about 56%, according to the US Department of Labor) with 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave. In addition, about a dozen states have passed paid family leave laws. However, the United States remains one of just a handful of countries (and the only wealthy one) that doesn’t have a national paid maternity leave program. When it comes to paid paternity leave, the US is one of just over 80 countries (out of roughly 200) that don’t require it. But more than 100 do, with leave periods ranging from just a few weeks to over a year. The average amount of leave for fathers in the European Union is 6.3 weeks (paid), according to a study by the career resources company Zippia (

Read the rest of this article on Armin’s blog.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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