This Proves Why America Doesn’t Need Mandatory Paternity Leave

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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.

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jgh
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jgh

Given that there’s only about a dozen federal countries in the world, I would actually *expect* most countries not to have federally-mandated anything.

Spike
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Spike

But that sleight-of-hand lets the Guardian portray the US as “one of only three countries in the world,” that is, a pariah.

Indeed, if you want 16 weeks’ paid time off for priorities higher than doing work, you can get it through suitable choice of employer. But most employment (and all employment in politics) carries the expectation that the work will be your highest priority. There are costs to deviating, either on your career or on the profitability of the firm, as competitors are focused on doing work.

Phoenix44
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Phoenix44

Presumably he could have just taken two weeks holiday, like we used to do?

And he choose to have a child, and such choices require other choices, not everybody allowing you to do whatever suits you best.

john77
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john77

Exactly!
I told my boss I wanted to take half my annual leave starting from whenever the baby was born and we organised cover for my job that could start at a few hours or even minutes notice.

Bloke in North Dorset
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Bloke in North Dorset

We did the same in the Army. The employer provided the flexibility of start date and that was it.

Pcar
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Pcar

Paternity leave is SJW equality nonsense, men do not give birth and do not need pre or post-natal ‘sick leave’

If woke firms want to offer it, fine; but it should not be legally mandated.

As Phoenix says, he and his wife chose to have a child. Why should others pay/suffer for their choice?

Pat
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Pat

Surely the art of politics is to observe what good things are happening and then take credit for them.