father laying down with newborn on chestFor quite a while not, it has been totally normal for moms to receive maternity leave for the birth of their children. This time is there to allow them to bond and care for the newborn in its first few months, but what about dads or other parents?

Thankfully, we have seen a shift away from this view in recent years with paternity leave becoming more popular. Here’s everything that you need to know about paternity leave:

What is paternity leave?

Paternity leave for men and parents is just like maternity leave for women. Typically, it lasts up to 12 weeks and can be taken any time within the first year after the child’s birth. You’ll need to check the employment contract to be sure and state laws as there may be some differences – for example, in Florida there is no law that says paternity leave must be paid. Need help cutting through the legal jargon of employment contracts or state laws? Read our article on how to find the lawyer for you.

Who can take paternity leave:

According to the United States Department of Labor*, paternity leave is available to those:

  • Who have worked for an employer for 12 months minimum
  • Who have worked for an employer for 1,250 hours (in the last 12 months)
  • Who work for an employer with 50 or more employees within 75 miles

As we have previously mentioned, this can differ state to state – for example some states offer it to companies with fewer employees.

father nose to se and holding newborn in hands


Why is paternity leave important?

There are a lot of benefits of paternity leave for men, such as:

It allows your partner to build a bond with the child

In the past, the early stages of a child’s life were largely, if not totally, spent with the mother. The early stages are when many bonds are built so having this time off is a perfect way to strengthen the connection both parents have with their newborn. A newborn baby is hard work, but it is also incredibly rewarding. That reward deserves to be shared between you both.

It can ease the workload for you

You and your partner are a team. Using paternity and maternity leave can help you share the demands of caring for your newborn. This can help strengthen the bond in your own relationship and make sure that each of you gets the support they need.

a smiling couple hold their young child in their armsIt is an important life experience

Having a child is arguably one of the biggest events of anyone’s life. It’s an event that can bring you so much closer to your partner and a journey that enriches both of your lives. Taking the opportunity to be fully present in these early moments of your child’s life can generate cherished memories and connections for years to come.

Final considerations

If paternity leave is an option that your family is afforded, we strongly advise taking it so you can reap the benefits mentioned above. Even if only for a few weeks. Always take professional advice and remember to check what’s in state laws and employment contracts about paternity leave so that you make an informed decision. If your partner is not able to take paternity, or your current circumstances just don’t allow it, focus on how else you can support each other on this part of your journey together instead. To read more about the challenging but rewarding experience of parenthood, check out our articles here.


*Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) | U.S. Department of Labor (dol.gov)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here