The prospective U.S. House Speaker needs to do more for the very thing he wants
Kudos to Representative Paul Ryan on making an important statement about dads and families. Now he should stop and consider why many people are accusing him of hypocrisy.
By stating that if he becomes U.S. House Speaker, he “cannot and will not give up” family time, he’s added his voice to the growing numbers of guys ready to state publicly that kids need their fathers, too. This is crucial. Sadly, many people in the halls of power—in both government and corporations—maintain views of men and women straight out of the Mad Men era.
These views are holding all of us back. They’re the reason the U.S. is the only developed nation with no guaranteed paid maternity leave. They’re also why only 14% of companies have any paternity leave, and the amount offered has gone down in recent years, according to the Families and Work Institute.
The net result is that we, as a nation, do nothing to ensure that newborn children can have a parent at home and food on the table for at least a block of weeks. It’s heartbreaking and shameful.
Here’s the good news: Three U.S. states have taken on this problem by creating paid family leave. Businesses are not required to pay salaries during leave; instead, a fund is created through a small payroll deduction. Businesses and workers alike have high praise for the programs. They’re a win-win, across the board.
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