Paternity Leave

As many of you are engrossing on your daily scan through Facebook, Reddit and popular news channels, you’re stumbling upon the same stories, over and over again. And this week, it’s that poor baby girl who was left in the hot and humid car for 4 hours (View the full story here). As many of you know, the outcome was tragic, leaving her parents and all of America in absolute heartache.

I’m watching as the father is being ridiculed and shamed, and most of me agrees with the out-lash that’s thrown his way. How dare he “forget” the most precious part of his life, whether it was a phone call, an email or a lapse in memory that swayed his judgement that day. There is, however, part of me that is deeply saddened for this man and the catastrophe he’s been faced with. We can all have our opinions, but none of us were there that day. Still, what a horrible event that could have been prevented.

This story has empowered me to perform a bit of research on the subject of paternity leave. And what I found was astonishing and, in my opinion, worth sharing. This event occurred 9 months after the baby was born, where most parents are finally catching up on sleep and feeling a bit more rested. However, we all know that having a child under the age of one is trying and laborious. And to top it all off, the pressure that’s put on us Americans to strive harder and harder at work is outrageous. I once worked a job (while I was pregnant in fact) where laboring a 10 hour day was the norm and an 18 hour day was nothing to gasp at. You become negligent and careless. Now, I’m not defending this man, but I’m sure he was under an amount of pressure that none of us are aware of, parents today are tired and exhausted and its nothing to be proud of. Why is it that pitching new business is more important than one on one time with your child? For all parents and soon-to-be parents in America, this is for you.

The average paternal leave in other parts of the world:

Slovakia: 28 Weeks Before Due Date & 2 – 3 Years After (80% Paid + Monthly Payment or The First 3 Years of Childs Life)
Bulgaria: 6 Weeks Before Due Date & 1 Year After (90% Paid the First Year / 50% Paid The Second)
Germany: 14 Weeks Before Due Date & 14 Months After (85% Paid)
Lithuania: 2 Years Total (100% Paid)
Croatia: 1 Year Total (100% Paid)
Norway: The Father’s Are FORCED to Take 12 Weeks Paid Leave (86% Paid)
Russia: 70 Days Before Birth & 18 Months After (60% Paid)

If you were to do research over the past few years, you’d find that the 9 month old who suffered a tragic death isn’t the first. There are a handful of occasions where babies were accidentally left in the car (each of these occurred while the parent was on their way to work). Maybe there’s a bigger issue here that needs to be front and center. And if the government isn’t willing to provide the accommodations needed for new parents, what are YOU going to change to provide a safer environment for your precious cargo?

Published by Jacqueline Leigh Boeheim

Jacqueline Leigh is a children's author based in Georgia. She spent many years working alongside advertising executives, producing inspirational and ground break print, web and television ads. Jacqueline later put her focus on journalism, doing what she loves, writing stories for the general public. She has been published in multiple print and digital publications. She’s interviewed big-name bands and small-town businesses, both contributing to her understanding and joy of writing. Jacqueline has now taken her experiences and focused on becoming a children’s author, a lifetime dream.

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