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A Father’s Right: The Importance of Paternity Leave under the FMLA

The arrival of new little one in the home brings joy, excitement, and quite honestly, exhaustion. With all the emotional ups and downs a new baby can impose on a household, it’s no wonder parents need substantial time off to adjust and recuperate. California Family Rights Act (CFRA) states, “Male and female employees have the right to up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a newborn baby, newly adopted or foster child.” It’s no surprise to either the community or employer when a mother takes leave to bond with her new child. However, with this important law in place, why don’t more fathers take bonding time with their new baby? A father’s role is different, and yet, equal to a mother’s role in their child’s life. It has been reported that the more involved a father is at the beginning stages of his infant’s life, the healthier the child will in fact be. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry, declared in his article from the Zero to Three Journal, “Examining 2-month-old infants from middle income, two-parent families, Parke and Sawin (1975) found that the more fathers participated in bathing, feeding, diapering, and other routines of physical care, the more socially responsive the babies were. Furthermore, a year later these babies seemed more resilient in the face of stressful situations.” Fathers have a vital role to play in their young child’s life. Babies need to establish healthy relationships with not just one, but both parents right from the start. With the aid of the CFRA, fathers can take leave from work with the peace of mind their...
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