Sex discrimination is still a pervasive problem in American workplaces. It comes in many forms, such as unequal wages, stereotyping of roles and promotion biases. While a number of our posts focus on these problems, we have not written on the issue of paternity leave bias.
While men tend to make more money than women, men may have to deal with stereotypes stemming from traditional norms of parenting. Essentially, men are (wrongfully) expected to put work first and leave child rearing responsibilities to their spouses.
As such, fathers may experience unusual forms of pushback when asking for time off to care for sick children, pick up kids from daycare or to spend time with newborns. It is almost if the schedule adjustments afforded to mothers, simply do not apply to fathers. This double standard can be especially difficult for divorced and single-parent fathers.
Suffice it to say, fathers should be afforded the same opportunities to care for their children. With flexible schedules becoming more popular among employers, fathers should consider the following:
- Be proactive in explaining your new situation with your supervisor. In suggesting a flexible schedule consider your employer’s need for predictability.
- If you are subject to a court order, be certain to provide your employer with a copy. You should be afforded time to comply with the order, especially if it dictates when you should conduct exchanges with the other parent.
If you have questions about legal protections available to fathers seeking time off from work, an experienced employment law attorney can advise you.