As our Oregon neighbors stand poised to pass the most progressive paid family leave law in the nation, I’ve been reflecting on how important parental leave was to my own family not long ago.
It was shortly after my son was born that my wife and I had our first “this is real” moment of parenting. A cold dunking of new routines — diaper changings, nursing, sleepless nights, third and fourth cups of coffee — helped us quickly realize that our infant was the one regulating everything.
It was in the sleep-deprived days after his birth that the three of us came to know each other. No matter how tired we were, whenever David reached some new development or milestone, my wife and I would turn to each other with awe. It was incredible to watch his immediate and drastic growth — a daily reminder of the monumental task of infancy.
It was always apparent in those first weeks and months that the realities of life with a newborn change everything. At the time of David’s birth, my wife, Ashleigh, was a preschool teacher and I was working as an office administrator. Ashleigh was provided six weeks of partially paid leave at a great financial loss to our family.
I returned to work after only two weeks in order to balance the loss and extend our ability for one of us to stay home with David. When it was time for Ashleigh to return to work (barely after her stitches had healed), I took an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave offered to me through a combination of employer, county and state compensation.
A short two years later our daughter, Abby, was born and I again learned how essential time with a newborn is to the health and well-being of a family. I took three months all at once and simultaneous with Ashleigh — which meant I had time to care for my wife while she recovered, and we could bond with our daughter and son at the same time.
I’m grateful for both experiences. Many people can’t afford to spend any time away from work to bond with their newborns. I’m glad the governor has pledged to work towards six months of leave per child, and that California in its 2019-20 budget just increased paid family leave from six to eight weeks.
Currently, workers get 60-70% of their usual wages with state family …
Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle