Q: Only 13 percent of American employers offer paid paternity leave. Why are South Asian and European countries so far ahead of the U.S. in paid paternity leave?
A: The cultures of South Asian and European countries put a higher value on family than on work and understand the father role model is as important as the mother. When dads aren't present or are frequently absent, children do poorly in school and engage in crime, drugs and other destructive behaviors. Companies and/or professions that recognize this — like osteopathic physicians, who treat the whole family and counsel parents to be active and supportive of their children's needs — contribute to more successful households and better adults of tomorrow.
Q: What are your recommendations for revisions to America's employment laws?
A: As an extension of FMLA, our laws should require up to four weeks' of paid leave, with one day a week for an additional four weeks to assist with medical appointments. Moreover, allowances must be included for full accrued sick and vacation time to be used by an employee to further augment a paternity leave. Dads should be allowed to continue 401(k) contributions while on leave, and we should allow for “new dad bank accounts,” where money can be saved tax-free and used if a leave needs to be privately supported.
PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER