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Ideal components of paid family and medical leave programs

Working fathers have a tough time balancing family time and the obligations of their career. That is also true for working mothers, giving men and women a shared basis for pursuing ways to secure more parenting time while successfully advancing their careers. While specific amounts of unpaid leave are assured to working dads and working moms by the Family and Medical Leave Act, many are seeking paid leave. That led to one organization detailing guidelines for paid family and medical leave that suits the needs of men and women alike.

Currently, paid family leave to take care of an ill family member, a newborn baby or an adopted child is only available through employers to about 12 percent of workers. Less than 40 percent of workers can get sufficient short-term disability insurance from their employers to take the paid personal medical leave they need. These statistics illustrate that most workers are not getting access to the paid leave they need for family and medical reasons.

One key recommendation for addressing this is to ensure that all paid leave policies accord the same amount of leave to men and women. Fathers should be seen as being no less valuable as caregivers of their children than mothers are. This includes paid leave for taking care of and bonding with newborns, along with paid leave for taking care of sick children. Implementing that policy recommendation, alongside others issued by the organization, gives both men and women a stake in passionately pursuing paid leave policies at their companies.

Of course, pursuing paid leave has legal aspects as well. Those aspects include understanding your company's policies and addressing situations where you aren't getting the leave you deserve. A good attorney can help you address those matters and seek a constructive resolution.

Source: American Progress, "Key Features of a Paid Family and Medical Leave Program that Meets the Needs of Working Families" Dec. 01, 2014

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