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Olga Zeveleva
14 February 19:43.
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Have you ever taken paternity leave, and what was it like?

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Paternity leave in America is as rare as it is important to the growth and development of your newborn. Few businesses, both big and small, allow paternity leave, and even fewer offer paid paternity leave. But the story gets worse. The sad fact is that even maternity leave is barely offered in the USA. In many businesses there exists LWOP (Leave without pay), where a person may take an extended absence from their job to have a baby and to spend important developmental time with their newborn, but they will not be paid for this time off.

Two weeks before my son was born, I worked as an assistant manager for a retail store, and when it came time to discuss with my general manager what my plans were for when my wife went into delivery, I was told that should my wife go into labor I would need to stay at work. I was not aloud to leave my job to take care of my wife and help our son be born. There was also no paternity leave, I could not request days off of work, I wasn’t even offered LWOP.

Fortunately for me, I had accepted a position working for the Government and would start a week prior to my sons birth. I was able to leave the retail job behind and start my new career. But even just starting this new career I didn’t have any saved time off. I started December 31 2015, and had a conference with my new boss on January 2 2016. My son was set to be induced on Janury 6th (a Wednesday). I was given LWOP for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and told that if I needed more time I could have it. My son was born at 1:21 am on Thursday December 7th. I did not have any paid time off for my son's birth, but I was there. And I was lucky to be there.

Now that I have been in my position for over two years, I have sick leave stored up that I can use for when my wife and I choose to have a second baby. I should be able to be there for at least the first 3 weeks.

The system we have in America is vastly flawed from not only a paternity leave stance, but from a maternity stance as well.