According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the majority (58%) of U.S. employers offer some form of paid maternity leave. However, the percentage of companies offering fathers the same benefit, which is often referred to as paternity leave or family leave, is much lower (around 14%).
Should more working American fathers be offered the same paid leave that most working American mothers are given?
Although the answer to that question is complicated and hotly contested, most Redditors in a recent thread on r/askreddit seem to be in agreement that, yes, fathers are entitled to the same paid leave that is available to most mothers.
The top comment in the thread puts it rather simply: "Any parent should get it." Another user wrote, "Of course they should. Why shouldn't they?"
The major objection to fathers receiving paid paternity leave is that fathers do not physically birth the child, and thus do not "need" time off to recover from the medical procedure. However, the majority of the time that mothers spend on maternity leave (usually between 6 to 12 weeks) is not, in fact, spent recovering from the birth itself. Rather, new mothers spend the majority of their time off caring for and bonding with the baby---activities that fathers can and should be encouraged to participate in.
Following a similar line of reasoning, one user wrote, "Maternity leave is for a mother to bond with and help raise her child in the early time after birth, not necessarily just to heal up, which means that a father has just as much right to be able to do this. I think both maternity and paternity leave should be paid, and you should be able to take that leave time not necessarily right after a birth to allow parents to stagger their leave."
Some users even went a step further, suggesting that multiple months of paid leave shouldn't only be available to those who choose to have children, but should be opened up to anyone who might want or need to take more time off than their yearly vacation-time allows for. One person wrote, "Everybody should get some kind of leave like that---whether they're using it to take care of a baby or not," to which another user humorously responded, "This is a novel idea...but tell your employer that you're going mountain biking for two months and they look at you sideways. However, a woman who had a kid 9 months ago is guaranteed a job when she comes back. I did this, and I came back to no job. But I was ok with it."
However, not everyone in the thread was so forward-thinking. At least one user said that men should not receive paid paternity leave because "women are the caregivers," which, needless to say, yielded a slew of disgruntled responses.
What do you think? Should men receive the same benefits that are afforded to women after a birth, or does paid maternity leave only make sense for women?