Friday, March 16, 2007

Take Paternity Leave, Or Else

I can't believe it's taken me over a week to get to this* -- it's one of those topics too big to just dash off a quick post on -- but I really need to flag the news that the UK's Equal Opportunity Commission has come down and said bluntly that kids whose dads don't take leave are more likely to have developmental problems. I found the conclusion so pointed that I scarcely believed the newspaper report. I had to pull the source material, which did indeed say that you'll screw up your kid if you don't use leave:
In the case of fathers, children were more likely to have developmental problems if their father had: not used their employer's flexible working options compared with using them; allowed the mother to do all the home based childcare instead of sharing; taken only annual or sick leave around the time of the birth compared with a mixture of paternity and annual leave; or taken no leave around the time of the birth.
I have to be honest ... that's a pretty radical statement, and I couldn't find the raw data from the survey (which looked at 30,000 parents and 19,000 kids born in 2000 and 2001) to back it up. But still, the idea is now out there.

The report was filled with all kinds of other nifty nuggets about fatherhood in the our mother country: 4 of 5 dads said they'd be happy to stay at home and look after the baby and 70 percent of new dads want to spend more time with their kids.

* Thanks to Katie for the reminder.

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