Parents with school-aged children quickly learn to expect the unexpected. Yet too many working parents find themselves in impossible dilemmas when a child falls ill, or when school-related meetings and events arise, due to a lack of paid time off and inflexibility in their schedules. That’s why we’re fighting for policy solutions that ensure parents can be there for their children when they need to without risking their economic security.
This Sunday, we’ll be celebrating the fathers in our lives. But when it comes to policies supporting dads, the U.S. still falls far too short. This Father’s Day, let’s give dads long lasting gifts that will give them the time and flexibility to be present and engaged in their children’s lives.
- Pass comprehensive paid family and medical leave laws. When dads are able to take sufficient leave to bond with a new child, they experience greater engagement in their children’s lives, benefitting both father and child. For example, when New York’s paid family leave law is fully phased in, parents of any gender will be entitled to up to 12 weeks of leave to bond with a new child, including LGBTQ parents, adoptive parents, and foster parents. Comprehensive leave laws also give workers the right to time off to care for their fathers when they are seriously ill or injured.
- Give dads the right to request flexible work schedules. In New York City, nearly half of workers have no access to flexible schedules. When ABB surveyed 250 working fathers, nearly half said they’d be reluctant to take advantage of a flexible schedule and 40% said they’d feel stigmatized for using a policy even if they did have one. Passing laws that allow workers the right to request flexible schedules will help change both the policy and culture surrounding flexible scheduling so that dads feel both comfortable asking for, and using, flexible scheduling policies.
- Protect family caregivers from workplace discrimination. When dads take the time to care for a child or family member, they can often face discrimination and stereotyping for being active caregivers—a pernicious form of sex discrimination. Though sex discrimination is already prohibited by law, explicitly outlawing discrimination based on one’s status as a family caregiver, as New York State and New York City have already done, provides even clearer protection.
Happy Father’s Day to all the caring, hardworking dads out there! As you continue to support your families, ABB will be here supporting you every step of the way.