For our community of gay dads and dads-to-be, one of the most (if not the most) exceptional times in our parenthood journey is the moment when we become a dad; when a child is placed in our arms or in our care. Those first few weeks are most meaningfully spent bonding, caring and getting to know our child, as they get to know us, too. And this should be a time where other distractions – financial and employment security – don't supersede those other experiences. Unfortunately, for the vast majority of dads in America, they do.
We're talking about the importance of paid parental leave. Only 15 percent of American companies offer paid paternity leave to all employees. And Dove Men+Care is fighting to change this.
Today, we're excited to help Dove Men+Care launch their Pledge for Paternity Leave, a call for dads, allies and business leaders to pledge their support for paid leave.
Along with Dove Men+Care, we're asking our community to support every dad's right to paid paternity leave by signing this pledge – because when dads take leave, it benefits ALL families, workplaces and communities.
Hoping to garner at least 1 million signatures, Dove Men+Care has a larger goal of sparking policy change at the business and government level. The signatures will only serve as proof that dads are supported in their need for paid paternity leave and can feel safe when asking for and taking paid leave.
Dove Men+Care is also putting their money where their mouth is by launching the Paternity Leave Fund, a $1 million commitment, over the course of two years, to fund real dads who are not or were not able to take meaningful time off during one of the most important times in their life. They will be awarding new or expectant dads who do not currently have access to meaningful paid leave a chance to receive a $5,000 grant.* (If this is you, sign the petition and opt-in for updates to apply.)
Meet dads Stephen and Tyler
"Our journey to fatherhood was amazing," said Stephen, husband to Tyler and dad to their adorable son. A close friend offered to be their surrogate and they were by each other's side for the entirety of the journey. "We are truly forever grateful to her; she is an angel to us!" To avoid going into debt during their journey to fatherhood, the dads had roommates to help cover the cost.
The first time Stephen and Tyler held their son, they were overwhelmed with love.
Sadly, neither dad received any paid leave. Stephen had to take non-paid leave and Tyler used vacation days to be able to have even two weeks off with their baby. After that they both returned to work. "With paternity leave we would have been able to stay home longer with our baby and really enjoyed forming that connection that is so important," said Tyler. "That first month with a baby is so special."
Meet dads Zack and Joseph
After 3 years of marriage, Zack and Joseph decided to being their fatherhood journey. They began working with an adoption agency in January 2018, and were matched with an incredible birth mother in March. On July 12, 2018, their son Oliver was born.
"There was such a feeling of anticipation as we were riding the elevator up to the hospital room where Oliver and his birthmother were," shared Zack. "We were both so excited to meet him."
"Holding him for the first time was an amazing and overwhelming experience emotionally," added Joseph.
Although the dads did receive some paid parental leave it was only for two weeks which they used whilst out of state waiting to bring Oliver home. Luckily, the husbands have opposite schedules so one of them was able to be home with Oliver at all times. "The issue with that was," said Zack, "we were hardly ever able to see one another."
Both dads are in agreement: meaningful paid parental leave would've meant tremendously to their family, and all dads. "Becoming a new parent is difficult and exhausting (and expensive!)... having that extra time to adjust to new parent life is invaluable."
Join us and sign Dove Men+Care's #PaternityLeavePledge
* $5,000 grant application open to male legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older, whose employer offers no more than ten (10) days of paid paternity leave and are expecting a child as of date of entry, have a child who is no more than eight (8) months old as of date of entry, are in the process of adopting a child as of date of entry, or have adopted a child within eight (8) months of date of entry.