Paternity Leave: Dad’s Missing Out?

October 28, 2012

This is a topic that has been on my mind for some time now. 27 days after our beautiful twin girls were born, we finally got to bring them home.


For the first 10 days twin daddy was by my side and our girls sides more or less 24/7. When they were transferred back to our local hospital, twin daddy had no choice but to go back to work. This is because he is self employed. He works on his own and has no employees, meaning if he wasn’t working, he wasn’t earning. 

Of course, he didn’t work full days because he wanted to be with our girls, so he split his day in two. If twin daddy wasn’t self employed, he would be entitled to 2 weeks paid paternity leave.

Is this enough? 

Should self employed men be entitled to paternity leave? If so, who would foot the bill?

It’s a common dilemma among many new parents. 

Personally, I don’t think 2 weeks is enough. Now, I’m not saying that new dads should have masses of time off, simply that over the course of a year, in addition to annual leave, I believe new dads should be entitled to a further 2 weeks off. 

Why?

As baby grows and learns new skills, most dads will miss out on seeing their baby reach important milestones.

Rolling over, crawling, sitting up, first words etc. I believe that 3, 6 or even 9 months after the birth, new dads should be entitled to a further 2 weeks paternity leave.

I know I will face criticism from some people for thinking this, but I am sure others will be in agreement with me.

On another important note, I do think that, in most cases as the mother is the primary carer for her baby, that it’s important for her to feel comfortable and confident when on her own with baby. 

I’ll give you an example. My sister gave birth to a baby girl 4 weeks ago. Her fiance, in addition to the 2 weeks paternity leave, he is having a further 3 weeks annual leave added onto this, meaning a total of 5 weeks off, immediately following the birth of their daughter.

On one hand I think this is fantastic, but on the other hand my sister has become reliant on her fiance being with her 24/7. So much so, that she is worried about being on her own with their baby when her fiance returns to work.

It’s very much hit and miss in my opinion. When we brought our girls home from hospital, I was pretty confident in my ability to look after our twins on my own. This is for 2 reasons:

1. For the first 27 days of their lives, I had the support system of nurses, doctors and consultants
2. 3/4 days after bringing our girls home, twin daddy returned to work

Of course, I would have loved to have had him home for 2 weeks, but being self employed that wasn’t possible.

Now that our girls are almost 9 months old, I would love for twin daddy to have some time off work to spend some proper quality time with them. Obviously, we have the weekends but this isn’t the same.

What do you think? 


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