Read on for stories about why paid paternity leave is crucial for DC parents and babies. If you agree, tell your DC City Councilmember!
“Being able to take leave when my son was born meant the world to me. Those early sleepless days were an amazing adventure. I woke every three hours more in love with my son and my husband.”
“When Orit was born, I was freelancing and in charge of my own work schedule. Now, with number two on the way, I know that I'll want to take time off, but have to consider the impact on our income. My boss has offered me six weeks of unpaid leave, which actually goes above and beyond the requirements, as we are a small company and are below the threshold for the law.”
-Gidon Van Emden
“When my first child was born, I took an unpaid three months off to care for him and to help my wife succeed in her career. ‘It's nice of you to help your wife with the baby,’ people would say, but I wasn't ‘helping,’ I was parenting. For three months, I was my son's primary caregiver, although sometimes (thankfully!) my wife would take time out of her workday to help me. He and I developed such a deep relationship that when my second child was born, I knew that I wanted bonding time again. This time my employer gave me four weeks of paid parental leave and I was fortunate to be able to afford another month off unpaid.”
“When I was born, my Dad took 3 weeks of leave from sick days that he had saved up. Since he had a unionized job with the state government, the benefits were better than at many other jobs, but there was still no official paternity leave. According to my dad, even just 10 years before I was born the concept of a new dad taking more than a couple of days off would have been very unusual. So he was happy to have the chance to help out my mother (who had a c-section) and get to know me during my first weeks of life.
I have always been very close with my dad and I'm very glad he had the opportunity to bond with me as a baby. But I also think we need to keep fighting to change our policies and national culture so that three weeks isn't considered ‘generous’ and all dads can - and are expected to - take paternity leave.”
- JUFJ core team leader Linda Benesch