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How offering paid paternity leave may help women in the workforce

In the United States, including the St. Charles, Missouri, area, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take an extended unpaid leave to care for newborn or recently adopted children, and family members with serious medical needs. The law is most often utilized by pregnant women and recent mothers, but is also applicable to new fathers as well.

With equality in the workplace among men and women considered an important talking point throughout American politics, analysts are beginning to wonder whether offering paid paternity leave could help bridge the gap between men and women in the workplace. Currently a majority of employees who utilize parental leave are women, who then struggle to regain equal footing in the workplace upon their return to the workforce. By encouraging men to also leave work to help raise their newborn child, this could help equalize salaries between men and women.

The concept is fresh, and it remains to be seen whether it could help women in the workforce gain equality. But it is clear that the new importance placed on paternal rights extends beyond just establishing paternity and paternity rights with regards to child custody, although they remain important for the well being of a child.

Paternity rights have been gaining traction in recent years, as courts begin to realize the importance of a father in his child's life. And as paternity rights continue to evolve in the court system, we will continue to see the issue addressed not only with regards to family law such as child custody and child support, but out to broader areas such as paternity rights in the workforce as well.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Would offering paid paternity leave help narrow the pay gap?", Keith Crostowski, Apr. 23, 2015

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