The Guardian is trying to prove to us that the United States is a horrible capitalist patriarchy because it doesn’t have legally mandated paternity leave. What they’re actually proving is that the US doesn’t in fact need it:
The US is one of only three countries in the world not to have any federally mandated parental leave, and the vast majority of American workplaces do not offer it.
But things were different for Ohanian, who was able to take 16 weeks’ paid paternity leave from his then employer Reddit (he now works full time for Initialized Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund which he also co-founded).
“I couldn’t imagine going through that as a husband and having to decide or even think for a second about choosing between your wife and your career. That is an inhumane choice to expect someone to make in a modern society.”
Of course, Ohanian, as one of two at least decamillionaires raising just the one child (so far) never did have to make such a choice.
But look at what the statement is. There’s no federally mandated paternity leave. Ohanian got paternity leave. The case for the mandating of paternity leave, given that it already exists, is what?
A 2019 report by Unicef, which analysed legally protected leave for new parents in 41 of the world’s richest countries, found that 26 offered paid paternity leave, while 40 had paid leave for new mothers.
Note what they’re studying. The legally mandated amount. Not the amount that people actually get. But whatever it is that we’re doing we have to observe reality, not the law books, to decide what to do next.
It’s decades back that I last employed someone in the UK. Paternity leave wasn’t even a thing. Despite that – and in a company of only 10 people – it was something that not just happened we were delighted to pay for it too. Us, we capitalists, it didn’t come off the national insurance bill.