lessons of fatherhood

Parental leave includes either maternity or paternity leave from the workforce after the birth or adoption of a baby.

It provides paid time-off work to care for a child , and is available almost in all countries.



However, parental leave for the fathers is not commonly accepted practice. Australia is one of the rare countries which accepts paternity leave with benefits. Even with these benefits, it’s interesting to find out that the ratio for every 500 maternity leaves, there is only one paternity leave.

What is Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave is the time off from work that a father takes after the birth or adoption of a child, with corresponding employee benefits. This kind of leave is rarely paid by the governments or companies.

Studies show dads barely take any time off after the birth of a child. Forget about long paternity leaves, still there’s only 75% of fathers who take time off work for a week or less, after the birth of a child. And there is the 16% that don’t take any days off.


Why is it that some Dads do not take Paternity Leave?

Even when paternity leave is offered with benefits, very few men take all the time offered to them by their employers after the birth of a child. There can be one of these reasons dads are less likely to take paternity leave:

  • Pressure on the Job
  • Mothers want to take all responsibility
  • Financial reasons
  • Fear of social reactions
  • Disapproval from work place
  • Career penalties due to leave
  • Not fit for the parental duties


What are the Benefits of Enjoying Paternity Leave?

All the studies about paternity leave show many benefits for the family, kids and even for the fathers themselves.

  • Even for as little as a few weeks, paternity leave after birth can bring equality to gender roles of the family.
  • Fathers naturally develop better parenting instincts after taking paternity leave.
  • Fathers who take paternity leave are happier and have long lasting relationship with their kids.
  • Paternity leave creates more stable and happier families with less conflict.
  • Children whose fathers are involved for their care at early stages are tend to be happier,healthier, do better at school, have greater self esteem and fewer behavioural problems.
  • Couples who use paternity leave are less likely to divorce.
  • Couples share domestic tasks mutually and have 11% fewer conflicts over the division of household labour.


Aren’t the Swedish Dads Celebrating?

Sweden is the first country with approved paternity leave and encourages fathers to share the parental leave with their partners. Fathers are required to take 3 months paternity leave with the payment of 80% of their salary. That benefit can be used anytime up until the child turns 8 years old.


What does Canada offer the Families?

  • Canadian government mandates maternity leave , paid leave is offered for one or both parents through employment insurance plan.
  • New mothers can take between 17 and 52 weeks of leave from their jobs.
  • Either mother or father can take 35 weeks of parental leave after the baby is born or adopted. The parents can share the leave however they choose.
  • If eligible for the program, the benefits equal 55 per cent of the parent’s average weekly insurable wage, up to a maximum of $485 per week.
  • Employment insurance benefits are taxable in the same way as wages.
  • Only Quebec fathers are entitled to a leave without pay of 5 consecutive weeks at the birth of their children. However they can add paternity leave to parental leave to get payment.
  • Paternity leave may begin no earlier than the week of the birth of the child and end no later than 52 weeks later.

Remember to apply for parental leave as soon as you stop working to get your maximum benefits. You can only claim parental benefits within the year (52 weeks) following your baby’s birth.


Comments from our Facebook Followers and Readers:


Lisa-Ann Maugeri: My hubby took 2 and a half months off and it was his idea. He wanted to so he could help put and we could both adjust to having a new baby. Thank goodness he did. Our boy was colicky the first couple months so it was a life saver. I’m extremely lucky as he also has taken additional time off coming up in the summer, fall and winter so he could spend more time with us as and family and bond with our boy who is 6 months now. I think not only is it a help to me but so beneficial for our son to have that extra time with his dad. I’d recommend if possible for dad’s to take any time they can because you never get the time back with your kids when they are so small.


Carly Smith: My SO is taking his 2 weeks paid vacation when I go into labor I don’t qualify for maternity leave so we can’t afford him to do any paternity other than the vacation.


Crystal Mackenzie: I think both parents should be able to have a paid year off or at least ei that’s where children do most of their growing but in most cases it’s not possible like my boyfriend only got a week and I took off three months of school.


Jamie Robinson: My SO took paternity leave for 6 months paid. Our son was born 3 months early and hospitalized for 2 months, and then we had a mass amount of hospital visits out of town and I do not drive. I’m really really glad he was able to be off work for all that!


Angelaka West: My bf is off for 6months and im happy hes around to help out. 2 weeks or month isnt enough for ppl.


Larissa Dawn: My SO will be taking about 2 weeks off.. One of the downsides to us both being self employed – no benefits at times like these.


Andrea Beaton: My hubby is going on Paternity leave for the summer after our girl is born in a couple of weeks…..we’re looking forward to spending great quality time as a new family:)


Lisa Peters: My husband is taking 2 weeks off, the EI maximum is too low otherwise he’d probably take another couple weeks to help me out.


Rachel Keast: My husband took 3 months with our first, only a month of that was parental leave, the other 2 were accumulated leave. This time he will take a month. 3 was too long for us & then he’ll take extended Christmas which is about a month, baby is due middle of Sept.


Samantha Benz: We are due in about in about 6 weeks, he will be taking 2-4 weeks banked time. We are so excited! Did our hospital tour just yesterday, its our first.

Written by: Tina I. Ureten, MD, RDMS, RDCS