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Paternity Leave Was Crucial After the Birth of My Child (nytimes.com)
167 points by rafaelc 12 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 167 comments
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I'm quite fond of Canada's system for parental leave[0]. The person giving birth gets 15 weeks off with 55% of their pay covered by their employment insurance (EI), and the couple get to share, however they decide to split it, either 40 weeks (at 55% pay) or 69 weeks (at 33% pay). No cost to the employer, but they have to ensure there's the same job waiting when the person gets back. It also covers adoptions.

It probably is hard as an employer but every business is playing on the same field. It's not like "Well, I won't participate in that because my competition would have an advantage over me". It's not optional and it's illegal to fire someone over it. Every business with employees has to accept this will happen eventually. The only optional choice (which my employer does) is to cover the other 45% of the pay for a certain number of weeks.

Interestingly, often you hear about people getting in at businesses because "they had a temp opening because of a mat-leave!". This works a lot like an internship, where the employer gets to test out a potential employee while not committing to them since the person on leave will be back on a specific date. Great way to get experience and networking for young people.

My teammate, for example, left a few weeks ago when his child was born. He'll be back in January. Sucks for our team to work without him that long, but it's nice to know that if I decide to have kids that option will be there for me too.

[0]https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-maternity-p...


It’s worth noting that the 55% is capped at the equivalent ~29k/yr, and the 33% is capped at ~17k/yr.

Many employers will top off to 80% or 100% for some period of time, but I don’t know of any companies that do 18 months.

> Interestingly, often you hear about people getting in at businesses because "they had a temp opening because of a mat-leave!". This works a lot like an internship, where the employer gets to test out a potential employee while not committing to them since the person on leave will be back on a specific date. Great way to get experience and networking for young people.

You’re failing to articulate the down side of this. Both as a direct consequence (backfill) and indirect consequence (not wanting FTEs that can disappear for multiple 18 month periods with no recourse), there are far more recurring contract-only positions.

I know multiple people that are stuck in perpetually-renewed annual contracts, no security and no benefits. At least two of those cases started as backfill, and as you note.. they did a good enough job that the employer wanted them to stay. But why would they actually risk hiring young women of child bearing age?

(Just to cut off the obvious criticism, several of the people that I’m aware of actually work for the government, directly and indirectly. Canada has a big public sector.)


> But why would they actually risk hiring young women of child bearing age?

Why would they risk hiring young women, regardless? With mandatory parental leave some of the risk of absenteeism shifts to men, which means women are comparatively less of an absentee risk. Likewise, the costs (onboarding, insurance, etc) are also shared across the sexes which makes women comparatively less costly to hire.

Whether society is overall better off is a different question. And whether women come out ahead is still ultimately an empirical question. But "gotcha" arguments about how the unintended consequences of such well meaning policies will have the opposite effect aren't very persuasive to me.


How is it the opposite effect? I’m merely saying that such well-meaning polices can have other consequences. Perhaps it’s still beneficial to society overall but I don’t like to pretend that we can get something for nothing.

In general, I’d like to think we could define generous parental leave policies that a) don’t achieve their ends by forcing consequences onto businesses and the labor market, b) don’t tie parental benefits to insurable earnings.

Seriously how messed up is (b)? Sorry, you had a hard time holding down a job last year, so we’re going to give you much less than the person who doesn’t need it.


Yeah, except they have nationalized health care.

Much different bucket than America's contracts without bennies.


Yes. But employers still generally provide dental and drug coverage.

I don't know anyone who has been bankrupted by an emergency dental surgery. I'm sure they exist, but generally dental in Canada is something you can pay for out of pocket without costs being ridiculous.

[flagged]


I’m simply pointing out the down side to the equivalently “meaningless” argument that backfill contracts are a good on-ramp. I’m not claiming that the consequences of the policy overall are positive or negative — you’re reading that in.

I haven’t written “just an opinion”. It’s self-evident that the generous mandatory policy changes incentives for businesses. My data itself is anecdotal of course, so the extent of impact is unknown — but I felt it important to clarify that these policies are not without negative effects (in addition to the obvious positive ones).

It’s not helpful to say you’re providing numbers, and cite only Canada’s fertility rate. And? A much more useful number would be the number of temporary jobs vs. permanent. Unfortunately, in Canada temporary jobs have been growing much faster than permanent positions over the past twenty years [1]. (Not a hard connection, but Canada’s major parental leave change coincidentally came around 2000, which made it 52 weeks.)

Obviously I understand there are many factors at work there. But this is probably one. I similarly understand there are many factors that cause public institutions to hire contractors. I pointed that out only to highlight that it’s not just “bad actors” engaging in this behavior.

On that note, if government has sufficient incentives to kill permanent positions in favor of temporary ones (and you cite this), then isn’t self-evident that additional incentives in private industry would also lead to more of that behavior broadly? Of course. Is society still better off? IMHO probably, but 18 months seems excessive.

I think if society truly values early childhood development, there are ways to support parents other than forcing private businesses to “keep a position” for years.

[1] https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/temporary-workers-employmen...


US has no similar policy. But haven’t contract positions grown here too at the expense of temporary ones?

Dunno. I suspect the US and Canada are very different both from a policy perspective, i.e. many states are “at will” (Canada has more labor protection, including things like mandatory severance), and how they measure “temporary”. The numbers in this graph at least are lower overall [1], and similar to 20 years ago. Doesn’t feel sane though. Teasing all this apart is probably an economist thesis though.

[1] https://www.economist.com/sites/default/files/images/2016/07...


> Canada's fertility rate is estimated to be approximately 1.6 children born per woman[1], and I'm fairly confident in my guess that the people who have children in excess of the average are disproportional unemployable people on social welfare, given that is presently the state of the things in the very similar Commonwealth country I reside in, Australia.

This is also why I don't buy the arguments common from millennials regarding why they're choosing not to have children. Setting aside the fact that such choices are hardly as selfless as they appear, the people I would most want to have children are the very ones both economically capable and ethically willing to be so considerate. This is true even if (and I assume it so) the decisions of other less consideration-capable people are entirely independent.

More concretely, if you're concerned about global warming, the carrying capacity of the world, ecological stewardship, etc then one of the worst things you could possibly do is not have a family. Whether to have your own biological children or adopt is a more complex issue, but suffice it say simply choosing not to have kids doesn't further the supposed ethical goals. That's less living what you preach and more an abdication of responsibility.


Whoa nelly, that is a tough argument to make in the face of a global rate of natural increase (RNI) of 1.06 (that's 6% being added year-over-year on top of the last census population of the 7.53 billion we've measured in 2017).

If you consider making sure your own particular genepool sustains, as your prime directive, then sure, power to you. When it comes to sustaining humanity, then there is something to be said about sustaining global resources, relaxing supply, improving literacy levels, maximizing public funds, human happiness indexes, etc. that have all long correlated lower population densities with better outcomes.


But if you want to sustain political policies that benefit the environment, you need to ensure that your political preferences carry forward into the next generation. The poor and uneducated are far more conservative than other groups, especially with regards to the environment. Understandably so as they're focused on getting ahead.

So long as there exists substantial income inequality in a nation, such as is the case in the U.S., the middle- and upper-middle class need to literally raise future generations of themselves. Otherwise they're de facto abdicating political power to the rich elite and poor masses. And even if eventually the poor masses produce what will become the new middle class, there can still be substantial regressions in political values in the interim, which in the context of accelerating global warming is extremely costly. We've literally seen this--as income inequality has grown in the U.S., and as the stable middle-class has declined, we've become a much more conservative nation.

There's no more effective way to perpetuate your values than through your own children. Education of other people's children is not very effective or efficient, at least beyond basic skills like reading and writing. Ask any teacher, especially teachers with children of their own. And in any event people who don't have children aren't engaged in those aspects of our society designed to socialize the young. If you are intent on educating other children, what better way than to have empathetic children of your own who can model your values and keep you productively engaged?

I'm not arguing that educated and conscientious groups need to somehow out reproduce everybody else, or even match the reproductive rate of other groups. I'm certainly not saying it's a genetic phenomenon, or that it's equivalent to genetic-based phenomenons in terms of the role of reproduction. But having no children whatsoever and persuading similarly situated people to abstain, well that's a different matter entirely.

The fact of the matter is that we know the more educated, wealthy, and independent people are--especially women--that the fewer children they'll have. We see it across cultures. That's good. But it also means that in the presence of disparities in those factors, there exists a dynamic that slows down the reduction in reproductive rate.[1] To accelerate the reduction in reproduction as well as other ecological pressures (reduced carbon consumption, etc), you have to strategically ensure that political policies which diminish inequality, and which in the interim directly mitigate global warming, persist and expand. In democracies where every vote is nominally the same, where educated groups have higher rates of voting and political participation, and where both political preferences and economic mobility are sticky across generations, you can't ignore the implications. At best advocating for fewer children is pointless as it'll happen regardless; at worst it's counter productive.

[1] I bet there's a correlation between rate of slowdown in reproduction with low Gini coefficients. For example, Japan. I haven't tested it but I'm gonna put it on my todo list. (Immigration is a confounder in terms of reproduction rate, but I bet it also tends to positively correlate with inequality, and in any event the destination for immigrants are richer nations with much higher per capita resource consumption... but I digress.)


>The poor and uneducated are far more conservative than other groups

so... this is a meame that seems really weird to me. I've heard a lot of people opine on why the poor do, in fact, vote against public benefits and for huge tax cuts for the rich.

But the data doesn't back it up. Pretty consistently, poorer people tend to vote democrat, and wealthier people tend to vote republican. This was true in the last election, too. And this is exactly what you'd expect, considering.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps...


> There's no more effective way to perpetuate your values than through your own children. Education of other people's children is not very effective or efficient

The former may be effective, but considering the effort and resources it takes to bring up children and the impact additional people will have on the environment, it is at least possible that it is not efficient at all.


To anyone living in the West, the best thing to do for the environment is to NOT generate another human that produces 50 times the CO2 than every other human in second and third world countries.

You fail to articulate as to why having kids would be beneficial for the environment. Sorry but you sound like a bitter parent envious of other people's time and freedom, you know, misery loves company. Are you also worried about the disappearance of the white race and the replacement by immigrants?

Having a kid or not isn't selfless or selfish, is simply not anyone's business except for the two involved.


Environmental problems won’t be solved by conservation, it’ll be solved by the next generation of engineers.

... engineers who will still be there, just less white and western than you're used to.

There will still be a next generation if Millenials and post-Millenials in developed economies decide to not have children due to environmental concerns, just like there was a next generation after the baby boomer women took to their careers with as much dedication as men.

There will be a next generation. End of story. But its superstar engineers won't be white.


We're in Canada, and my wife is taking 18 months. It's great, but as a correction, it's 55%/33% of your EI insurable earnings, which is a maximum of $53,100 (2019). There are modifiers for single parents and/or local unemployment rates.

Also, they recently added a new parental leave benefit for the secondary caregiver so they can take 5/8 weeks off. It's a "use or it lose it" benefit, meaning you can't add it to the primary caregiver's leave. This effectively amounts to a paternal leave benefit that most everyone will now take, shifting the focus away from women (slightly) when a child is on the way.


I'm quite fond of Canada's system for parental leave

You mean the system where, in upwards of 90% of cases, women take 50 weeks of leave and men take 5 weeks? I wouldn't call that a great system, personally.


I would. I think, personally investing in people makes for better people. A lot of times, that's done with time and not money. Money is a poor man's substitute for spending time with his children.

Women taking 10x as much leave as men is great if you want to reinforce traditional gender roles about caregiving.

Personally, I'd be happier if the 40 weeks of "parental" leave was required to be split 20/20 (subject to obvious exemptions if there is no second parent who is eligible for EI). This would still leave women with 75% more leave than men -- but I think that's a reasonable compromise given that the maternity leave is intended to cover time when a birth mother is medically unable to work, recovering from birth, etc.


Are you aware men can’t breast feed?

Fuck this idea that traditional gender roles are meaningless.


Sure, men can't breast feed. But they can bottle feed (including with pumped breast milk); they can change diapers; they can wash and hold and play with babies; and they can attend to myriad other domestic chores while babies are being breast fed.

Breast feeding is absolutely important, but if you think that's the only thing you need to do in order to take care of a newborn, you might be in for a shock.


> Breast feeding is absolutely important, but if you think that's the only thing you need to do in order to take care of a newborn, you might be in for a shock.

Breastfeeding is a necessary part of taking care of a newborn that men cannot do. Women can do all the parts that you listed, plus the vital component of breastfeed. Hence, it makes sense to encourage moms to stay home with babies. Dads should stay home too, because the ideal is for mom and dad to be at home playing with babies (isn't that everyone's dream??). However, most people are not independently wealthy, so compromises are made, and dad goes to work.


The parent comment believes they have that problem solved by suggesting breast pumps (and formula, one supposes), but those don't work well for some people. To be fair, breastfeeding doesn't work well for some people and is part of the reason wet nurses were more popular in the past.

My larger point is, we shouldn't throw the traditional gender role baby out with the breast milk bath water. People have different preferences / requirements, and they should be allowed to make the choice to conform to traditional gender roles if they so choose, rather than forcing a 50 / 50 split of parental leave where there is some clear biological differences. The obvious ones being men lack mammary glands and uterus / ovaries.


There is room to acknowledge that men and women are biologically differentiate, while also noting the spectrum of needs in each couple. Be it two fathers, two mothers, or a mother that goes back to work before a father.

The invariant need is a child that has a loving home environment and is well fed.

Living in Canada as an American citizen, I deeply appreciate the leave benefits we have here in Canada/Quebec.


Dear me.

I couldn’t agree more that the needs of the child is paramount.

What I mean to say is that there needs to be significant social welfare towards the wellbeing of children.

That typically means two people chosen by the mother could be delegated a minimum set of care hours for the life of the child, paid for by the state.

I couldn’t give a hoot who or what plays those roles.

The direction this conversation took is breaking my brain.


Breastfeeding is a not necessary part of taking care of a newborn.

We have only to look at the decades in the US where babies were often formula-fed instead of breast-fed.

While there are certainly advantages to breast feeding, it is not necessary.

Your "to be at home playing with babies" should be "taking care of".

My dream was to raise children, not just play with them. Dads also need to be involved in changing, and feeding, and washing, and yes, even bottle feeding because Mom is so tired that she just needs to collapse, or because I want to take the 4 month old out to a baby meet at the library and not plan around being back home for feeding - whenever that is.

Nor was I the only father of a 4 month there, with bottled milk so Mom could have a break at home.


> While there are certainly advantages to breast feeding, it is not necessary.

Sure, but it does have positive health benefits for mom and baby and is cheaper than formula. In order to continue to breast feed the baby to two years (as recommended by the WHO), the mother needs to actually breastfeed the baby. Using pumps can result in milk supply lowering, not because pumping is incapable of keeping up milk supply, but because without the hunger cues of a newborn, the mother doesn't typically pump as much and as long as a newborn would. Moreover, the oxytocin from holding the newborn and the hormones released when the newborn cries keep the mother's supply up. There is no way to replicate this in an office. It requires a baby.

My solution to this 'problem' is to create a society in which moms can stay home with their babies and simultaneously, for those women who choose to work, normalize bringing your child to work. Not only does this keep mom and baby together, but it also means there will be adorable babies in offices everywhere.


I'm glad I was able to change your mind and convince you that breastfeeding is not a necessary part of taking care of a newborn.

I never argued that it was. I said breastfeeding leads to the least stress for mom, dad, and baby, in the general case, which is still true.

Before boldly proclaiming winning in something that is not even a competition, I think it's worth it to understand the argument.


At https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20683397 you wrote: "Breastfeeding is a necessary part of taking care of a newborn ... plus the vital component of breastfeed"

Now you say you didn't write that?


It seems evident to me that @tathougies intended their statements to come with the 'when and where it makes sense to do so' aspect I mentioned earlier.

Of course there's going to be circumstances where, for whatever reason, breastfeeding isn't optimal or even an option.


Your reading is more along the lines: "Breastfeeding - when and where it makes sense to do so - is a necessary part of taking care of a newborn that men cannot do."?

Isn't that like "Wearing a bicycle helmet - when and where it makes sense to do so - is a necessary part of riding a bicycle."

That is, your addition negates the seemingly firm statement of "necessary", while the later use of "vital" seems to support the firm intent of "necessary".



Another reason I fully agree with you is that mandatory paternal leave would help reducing discrimination against women of child bearing age. Right now, employers are worried that women would take maternity leave and so are less likely to hire women than men, having men with a substantial paternity leave would level the playing field somewhat.

Going to get downvoted for this, but whatever.

It is cruel to mother, father, and child to force a father to take care of a newborn or < 1 yr old without the mother. The newborn is used to the mother's body. A newborn gets stressed being away from its mother and source of food, even when with the dad. Breastfeeding from the breast is not just a source of nutrition but also a source of comfort for the baby, and healthy for the mom (both physically and mentally). Men do not have this need or ability.

Putting a man at home with his newborn, without the mother, is a recipe for disaster. Not because a man cannot do the actions required to take care of a baby in this circumstance, but because, if the woman wants to do the recommended thing for her child (breastfeed him or her), then she would have to pump (which is a lot of work) and store her milk (a lot of work). Oh also, she'd have to do this at work, which again makes her unequal to her male colleagues. The man would have to disinfect and clean bottles, and be unable to soothe a child if he runs out of milk (unless he has formula on hand). The child doesn't get the human touch of breastfeeding.

So to recap... the mother loses because, despite going to work for the sake of 'equality', she's stuck every few hours pumping milk, losing work time her male colleagues can use to further their career. The baby loses because it doesn't get the psychological security of suckling at the breast. The father loses because he is simply less able to calm the baby down and feed it than the mother.

By all means, help men to stay home with their older children. This is great, but a father with a newborn is simply a bad idea, IMO. Formula is possible, but from a public health perspective, it should be discouraged unless necessary.

I will never understand why people make parenting harder on themselves. Newborns are hard enough, but the human body has an easy way to fix it. Whenever my daughter is fussy, she goes straight back to her mom for comfort nursing, and then when she's done, she's back to me for fun times. This is easier for everyone involved, and fosters a positive father-child relationship.

Both my wife and brother-in-law were breastfed whenever they were fussy, and it always calmed them down, according to MIL and FIL. Not being breastfed myself, I didn't believe it at first. But sure enough, with my daughter, literally all problems can be solved by suckling for a minute at her mother's breast. Why make this harder on ourselves? By the time she's back with me, she's happy, laughing, and ready for tickles and fun, and mom can get a well-deserved break.


Pumping isn't great, but compared to being woken up two or three times a night, every night, for months on end? I think judged relative to that alternative pumping is not as difficult as you make it sound.

And a man who can't disinfect and clean bottles is going to hate it when he finds out about diapers :)


> And a man who can't disinfect and clean bottles is going to hate it when he finds out about diapers :)

Where in my post did I say men can't do this? I just said it is many times more inconvenient for a man to do this, than for a woman to breast feed. Inconvenience experienced over time is another way of saying stress.

Honestly, I'm going to bow out of the conversation now. I realize that my wife and I make several choices to maximize our convenience that would seem odd to other couples. My basic idea is to just go with the way natural selection made your bodies act and don't add pressure to do anything different. It's much much much easier that way.


> compared to being woken up two or three times a night, every night, for months on end

You still need to wake up to pump, and whether pumping or breastfeeding it does not change how many times you (the baby) wake up at night in general.


I ask you to not confuse "newborn" with "<1 yr old".

I know several men who have taken parental leave to be the primary caregiver for their >newborn but <1 year olds, while their wives return to work. It was cruel for neither the father, mother, nor child.

Your argument, I believe, is that if the mother dies in childbirth, then it is cruel for the father to take care of the child. In that case, what do we do? Or does that follow under the "necessary" exception which allows cruelty?

It might just be that it isn't actually cruel.


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for 1 year, and the World Health Organization for two.

> I know several men who have taken parental leave to be the primary caregiver for their >newborn but <1 year olds, while their wives return to work. It was cruel for neither the father, mother, nor child.

I hate the term 'primary caregiver'. Mom and Dad are primary caregiver, independent of whether they are working, staying at home, etc.

> Your argument, I believe, is that if the mother dies in childbirth, then it is cruel for the father to take care of the child. In that case, what do we do? Or does that follow under the "necessary" exception which allows cruelty?

Well no. This is a strawman. Above, in my previous comment, I said it is cruel to mom, dad, and child. I even mentioned the inconvenience of mom pumping milk. If mom is dead, then this arrangement cannot be cruel to her, and she cannot be inconvenienced by pumping milk. A straightforward and benevolent reading of my comment would have you believe that it does not apply to cases in which mom has died.

This is a rare enough occurrence that policies that seek to work well with the norm can't really be criticized for not addressing it.

> It might just be that it isn't actually cruel.

Or it might be that we as a society are used to being cruel to both women and children.


Using $TERM of your choice, the father was the one spending full-time at home, taking care of the <1 yr old child, while the mother was not.

Is this cruel? Not "is it inconvenient", but is it - your term - "cruel"?

(I double-checked, and "primary caregiver" is the correct term for that situation. It is not exclusionary as both parents may be primary caregivers at the same time. Also, the primary caregiver may be another relative or friend, and not always the mother or father.)

Also, what does "cruel" mean to you? Babies aren't acculturated, so societal expectations don't really apply to judging the responses of a 4 month old. Do you mean they cry more? Do they have lower levels of oxycotin? Or how else do you figure out that a society has been making a mistake in how it deals with babies?


(The comforting aspects of) Breastfeeding has many perks but I think you are blowing it out of proportion. Not every baby calms easily to breastfeeding (neither of mine did). Cleaning bottles is a quick and simple task. And I (father) have in general not had issues calming either of my children when they were fussy (they generally favor me for comfort, but my wife is just as capable). I never planned nor expected to be good with the kids in the newborn stage, but I am. I"ve seen this tendency in a few other (friends) couples as well, where the father seems to have a knack for it so I think it would be great if there were more paternal support.

That's great! My daughter also calms down when I comfort her. However, many parents mistake fussiness for hunger (I have seen this in so many couples who are friends with us... their child gets hungry every 30 minutes or so, and dad is trying to bounce him/her and sing to it, as if that's going to work). It is actually cruel to sing to a child when they are hungry and want food. I would not be surprised if the deep-seated food insecurity this instills on children is the source of a lot of our obesity problems

I won't down vote you, but I hope you are wrong :-) I'd be very interested to see if you can come up with studies that back up your anecdotal evidence. I mean, what you say makes a certain amount of sense, but there are lots of things in the world that makes sense and are wrong ;-)

What evidence are you looking for? The positive health effects of breastfeeding are well-known, well studied, and well replicated. The positive psychological effects (lower cortisol, etc in infants) are also well known, as are the positive effects in mom (lower incidence of PPD).

Breast milk is not a fixed product. Rather, the suckling action as well as pathogens present in the baby cause it to change its composition. It contains antibodies for the baby if the child is sick, and its fat/sugar ratios change depending on the age of the baby (via suckling). Pumping removes this feedback loop from the mother. There is little research here, but preliminary research (https://psmag.com/economics/unseen-consequences-pumping-brea...) demonstrates several negative effects of pumping. Pumping often produces too much foremilk (high in sugar), rather than hind milk (high in fat), because pumping doesn't work in the way baby's mouths do.

As for comfort. I think most babies are comforted by feeding. However, with formula, you have to be careful not to overfeed. You can't really overfeed with breastfeeding. The maximal amount of calories the child can get is whatever amount his mother is eating, so if mom is eating the right amount, the baby will get it.


I think you might be misunderstanding my intentions. I was looking for some scientific references to learn more and thought you might be able to point me to them.

Male here in the US who received paternity leave twice for my two kids; my spouse and I prescribe to traditional gender roles, we’re both happy with it, and I would forgo mandatory paternity leave if I had to split leave offered. I’d rather be earning a large dollar amount (doing something I enjoy) than child rearing, even if I had to hire a nanny. Just not something I’m interested in doing full time, and life is too short to do things you don’t want to do if you have the means.

I fully support leave, but leave it up to parents how they want to split it.


>I’d rather be earning a large dollar amount (doing something I enjoy) than child-rearing, even if I had to hire a nanny. Just not something I’m interested in doing full time, and life is too short to do things you don’t want to do if you have the means.

I apologise if this infers offence but the way that this reads is that you're not interested in child-rearing so one must ask the question that begs: "Is there a point in having children if you've no interest in their upbringing?"


> "Is there a point in having children if you've no interest in their upbringing?"

It makes my partner happy, and as I said, I don't want to do it full time. I still make an active effort raising them when I'm not working my day job (mornings, nights, weekends).


There is a large gap between not wanting to do it full time and not wanting to do it at all. I"m certainly in the former camp, and as opposed to OP my wife makes more money than me, so it would make even more sense. But I know I would be unhappy doing it _full_ time. To the point, I would not take a job that did not afford me morning, evening, weekend, and occasional PT time to spend with my kids. I enjoy being heavily involved in their day to day rearing. I just don't want to abandon my (enjoyable) career if its not necessary.

Same reason men serving in the military or working abroad or on oil rigs or in long-haul trucking have children?

>Same reason men serving in the military or working abroad or on oil rigs or in long-haul trucking have children?

I don't see how those two situations equate. One is an impossibility, due to circumstance (e.g.: on the battlefield), and other is the willful knowledge that you want nothing to do with their upbringing because, using the OC's words, "I’d rather be earning a large dollar amount (doing something I enjoy) than child-rearing...".

Edit: In other words, there's no direct implication that everyone in the military, working abroad, or long-haul trucking wants nothing to do with child-raising. I'd imagine the situation is actually the inverse but the economic necessity for that work to be done (to provide a living) is what prevents that.


The equivocation I'm making is although it's unusual, it's far from unprecedented for a parent to make career choices that don't maximise time spent raising their children.

If you don't like those examples, consider a family with two busy working parents sending their child to boarding school. If they can afford a boarding school, they've got plenty of income. One or both of them could simply switch to a normal 9-5 job.

toomuchtodo would not be the first person to hand their child off for others to deal with, even if the decision to do so is hard for most people to understand :)


I don’t think the main objective of women when they decide to take that leave is to reinforce traditional gender roles about caregiving.

But if your objective is to fight traditional roles about caregiving it makes sense that you’d prefer that other people didn’t have choices.


Women taking 10x as much leave as men is great if you want to reinforce traditional gender roles about caregiving.

That's a reasonable concern, but I think requiring the parental leave to be split isn't a reasonable solution.

In a lot of families, that will just create serious problems without any real upside.

I don't have a good solution to suggest, but there has to be some leeway for families to work those details out themselves without having to justify their choices so as to be granted an exception.


It really isn't as simple as this, from a gender equality perspective.

First, many women will take on more the childcare burden regardless of the financial incentives that exist. That domestic labor ought to be recognized as real labor, and as such, be paid.

There's also a class angle: Many low income women would rather be doing childcare than crappy low wage work, because the oppression of a boss is worse than the oppression of their domestic arrangements.


>That domestic labour ought to be recognized as real labour, and as such, be paid.

Who would do the paying in this scenario? The children? Aren't they (the children) ultimately the beneficiaries of the aforementioned labour - in the same regard as an employer is the beneficiary of an employee's labour?

I don't understand how that premise would work-out - unless you had a system, like the social security system in the states, where the current generations are paying for the prior; however, even as that system demonstrates, it would eventually become insolvent as the population growth continues unabated.


I am talking about subsidized child care no matter the venue: parents can choose between subsidized child care centres or instead keep the money and do the care themselves.

Where do you live? Define oppression. Let's see a survey of your claims.

The general interpretation is along the lines of:

https://globalnews.ca/news/3230205/women-work-more-than-men-... - "Women work more than men and it’s impacting their health, study says"

"According to a recent study by the Australian National University, women (on average) work fewer hours at the office. But when taking unpaid domestic labour and care-giving into account, they’re going above and beyond their “workhour-health limits.”" ...

"Men, the researchers say, are able to dedicate more time at work because they spend less time on housework, which gives them an edge in their career, co-author Lyndall Strazdins tells Broadly.

In fact, men get 100 extra hours a year to advance their careers, she says."

and https://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/mar/10/housework-ge... - "Forty years of feminism – but women still do most of the housework?"

"Nick Pearce, director of IPPR. "Women still shoulder the overwhelming burden of household tasks, particularly after they have had children. When they earn more, their bargaining power with their partners increases, so closing the gender pay gap would help. Universal childcare, rather than tax relief for nannies or cleaners, is also the best way forward for a family-friendly, more equal Britain."

And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wages_for_housework :

"The International Wages for Housework Campaign was a feminist global social movement, which grew out of the International Feminist Collective in Italy in 1972 and organized resistance and public debate on the social formations produced by gendered labor and reproductive labor, for example domestic work such as housework, childcare, gender discrimination, and the socially reinforced performance of gender roles, gendered desire, and leisure inequality. The Campaign's platform included the women's right to work outside of the home, unemployment benefits, parental leave, and equal pay."

The history section includes the term 'oppression' directly:

"A number of early feminists focused women's economic independence along with the role of housewife in relation to women's oppression. In 1898 Charlotte Perkins Gilman published Women and Economics. This book argued for paid housework 74 years before the International Wages for Housework Campaign was founded as well as arguing to expand the definition of women in the home."


I think the idea right now is to give flexibility to both parents to make their decisions instead of forcing a perceived cultural choice on them.

Are there sources?

This is one of the reasons Canada is becoming too expensive for some companies. My employer has almost 0.5 million direct and indirect employees and the Toronto offices are shrinking with almost zero new hires in the past 15 years.

So yes, you can have benefits, but not everyone is happy to pay for it. For each Canadian that takes generous leaves there are hundreds of other people willing to work without it. I am just stating facts, not supporting any side (I live in Europe, we have long leaves too).


> person giving birth

You mean the "mother"?


Folks give birth without becoming a mother and one can be a mother without giving birth.

Surrogates exist, for example. Folks give infants up for adoption. In this case, you can wind up with a mother who didn't birth the child and a person who gave birth, yet didn't actually become a mother except in a loose sense of the word.

On the sadder end, stillbirths still happen and society doesn't really consider this person to be a mother. (I'm personally fine with whatever the parents choose to be called).


There's always more complexity than you know. There are trans men with wombs who give birth. There are are surrogates. There are 1000 other situations that I don't even know about. The law says "person giving birth", and I like that choice of wording. It doesn't exclude someone who is in a new, unexpected situation.

Just the same, the law says that the two parents can share the weeks of work off, not "mother and father", as that's clearly not always going to be an accurate representation.

It's not political correctness, just accuracy in terms.


It could also be father, stop assuming genders!

There are many positive things about living in the US, but having a child here absolutely blew my mind. Not only is the act itself incredibly expensive (I'll spare everyone yet another health insurance rant...) but leave for both mother and father are woeful. Did you know there isn't even a federal requirement for maternity leave at all? In some states women get to claim disability for six weeks and that's it.

Anyway, to get a little more on-topic: lots of us tech company employees are incredibly blessed when it comes to parental leave. Take. Every. Day. Not only is it practically a physical requirement (I don't care what you think, if you're heading into the office with a two week old baby at home you're not getting enough sleep to do anything productive) it's also an amazing opportunity to bond with your child. Your coworkers might moan or judge you. If they do, they're assholes. And who cares, you will move jobs in a few years anyway. You don't owe your employer anything. Take the leave.


I worked for a company in America in the past that had a woman that came to work the next day after giving birth as their was no parental leave whatsoever. We were at a lunch after a charity fundraising event and the CEO laughed about it and said that "she was born to breed."

I feel like you are completely ignoring the FMLA. It mandates 12 weeks unpaid leave within the first year of childbirth.

Unpaid is a huge qualifier. A lot of people simply cannot get by taking three months off with no pay.

Probably a lot of small businesses can't get by with paying people who aren't working.

That would be why in many other systems a public entity picks up the tab, not the employer.

There is no public entity, it is the taxpayer. Just say it so, "that's why you pick the tab".

This is far from universal. In my state (California) the cost is distributed among all employers as part of an “unemployment insurance” scheme. Everyone who employs someone pays a small amount each month to cover things like family leave. (Yes, labor economics tells us that this really means that all employees are paying this amount.) but it’s not all taxpayers, and it’s not a progressive tax (meaning everyone pays about the same, rich people don’t pay more as they do for other government programs).

Given your other comment, though, it sounds like your concern isn’t “taxpayers” paying for family leave, it’s you. So yes, ultimately, you, productive member of society, might be paying for other, “unproductive” members of society (as defined by you) to have kids.

You sound grumpy about this arrangement. Of course, as an upstanding citizen, you’ve never taken advantage of incentives or benefits paid for by other taxpayers, right? And of course you’ve never had the assistance of a government program, or it was different because it was for something “not in your control” — unlike having kids.

This attitude rubs me the wrong way, hence my less-than-civil response. It’s like the people who hate public transit because they only drive, not realizing that public transit takes other cars off the road and improves their own commutes. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.


and so what? the tax payer pays for a lot of things that it makes sense for the tax payer to pay for. at least with health insurance you can bemoan paying for other people's irresponsible lifestyle but with maternity leave almost everyone withdraws from the trust in the same way?

Presenting facts: reality in my country tells that universal maternity and paternity leaves are the most abused systems and tax payers are not happy with this. The low income people have a huge number of children (2 sisters with 33 kids in total were most discussed) just to live on taxpayers money, they never worked between childbirths. Also there are so many people pay huge taxes and never qualify to get anything in return (have no kids).

Many people here believe that caring for your kids should be the parent's responsibility, not anybody else's.


>Presenting facts: reality in my country tells that universal maternity and paternity leaves are the most abused systems and tax payers are not happy with this.

googling "canada paternity maternity leave abuse" gets no matching hits. show me

>The low income people have a huge number of children (2 sisters with 33 kids in total were most discussed) just to live on taxpayers money, they never worked between childbirths.

average number of children in canada in 2011 was less than 2.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2014002...

how many standard deviations away from that mean is ~16 children? so you're talking about decrying a social policy that overwhelmingly improves outcomes for women, children, and communities

https://www.milbank.org/wp-content/uploads/mq/volume-96/sept...

because some poor person somewhere once had a bunch of kids.

these are distorted facts (or what we in /my/ country, like to call fake news).


Well, here there are 2 categories of people (with exceptions, of course): people that have 1-2 kids and take a very short leave and people that have 5-15 kids just to live on the checks they get for the kids. You don't have that yet because we started a long time ago, but it does not mean you will not repeat the history, again and again. So yes, you are right, it works now in Canada, we were there 30-40 years ago. Look where we are today before answering.

This is part of why it needs to be in law, to level the playing field. If it's mandated, then your competitors can't undercut you by firing all their pregnant employees or refusing them leave.

To be fair, in America, if you haven't been able to save enough money before having a kid to last three months unpaid, I'm not sure how you plan to survive after having a kid.

Well, yes and no. Not if you work for a small company - I can't remember the numbers, but x employees within x range. I'm pretty sure some larger companies wind up not having to follow FMLA.

And as others have said, it is unpaid. If you are poor, unpaid leave is basically no leave, even if it is protected. You can be too poor to take leave.

I'll also mention that FMLA is only for full time employees, so part time workers can still get fired for attendance, though they are likely to get some unemployment.


This goes doubly true for multiple births (having had a single then twins, it was more than twice the difficulty). You have enough to worry about with just keeping them alive and all the questions on early development. Work can wait.

Someone from the states came on to our local tech slack to try to recruit and bragged about their 16 weeks' maternity. Didn't have a great response to "you realize the legal minimum is 6 months, right?"

>> 16 weeks of paid paternity leave - which was the policy at Reddit

I joined a company a couple months ago but prior to accepting, I asked the CEO what their paternity policy was because I disclosed we are expecting in December. He responded that they have a "wonderful" policy so I accepted. After starting, HR provided me with the employee handbook but there was no mention of maternity or paternity leave. I asked where it was and HR stated the company "does not have a maternity or paternity policy" and said my accrued PTO of 1-week by the time December hits should suffice. I just want to jump ship now.

Update: I am in California


Completely aside from how truly awful that is, someone who would deceive you to get you in the door will fuck you again the minute it is in his interest to do so.

Also, that seems like a very short-term strategy to be taking with hiring. He may not have a long-term strategy for the company.

I would suggest you jump as soon as you're able.


If you ask a question that can be easily answered with a specific/quantitative answer, usually the answerer knows you're looking for a specific answer.

When someone answers with a generality, then beware because of:

- motives

- interpersonal differences in the mapping between words and numbers

Let's say you're thinking about joining an expensive coding bootcamp. You ask about the chance of you getting an engineering job earning more than $100k after finishing.

Even if they're not trying to mislead you, they might answer in a general sense in order not to be pinned down. So they tell you that you have a 'very good chance'.

To you, 'very good chance' might mean 80%, because you're thinking about the high price of the programme. To them, 'very good chance' might mean 20%, because they're basing it on the excellent uplift over the 0% chance you have when entering the programme.

And some people just like to avoid conflict and tell people what they want to hear :(


I don't know what state you're in, but both NY and CA have paid family leave laws on the books that entitle you to at least six weeks off. I don't know the full details, but you should seriously look into it.

And don't write off getting a new job. I started a new job a few months before my child was born, I was told that if I quit my job within the first year then I would have to refund the company for the parental leave I was given so soon in my time with them. I happily accepted that condition.


Thank you for the quick reply; good to know others have experienced this. I'm in CA & my wife will be submitting her PFL claim in the coming weeks so I'll be doing the research in parallel with her, probably starting here:

https://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/PFL_Fathers.htm


Just know the cap is pretty low -- like $1200-ish/week iirc.

Echoing everyone else: a ceo who lies to get someone in the door? That person is going to fuck you (again) at the first available opportunity.


The cap is $1,232/week. I just ended my PFL.

Notify HR of your desired paternity period and tell them it was offered by the CEO. If they say anything but yes, forward their response to the CEO and ask about why HR is unaware of the "wonderful" paternity policy offered to you in the interview.

Keep good records. If they fire you over this, talk to an employment lawyer.


This still boggles my mind as a Swede, how this is not the norm. Children are people who need the right circumstances, being with both their parents at an early age should definitiely be one of them.

On the flip side, as a single person, I can definitely see how alot of benefits you can claim as a healthy, working career person are tied to having a family with kids. Our taxes subsidize day care, kid sports clubs and many other expensive things that are exclusive to kids. And, as long as you announce it with enough warning, your employer has to grant and handle your paternal leave so a lot of people use it as a way to claim the best weeks for vacation leaving us single people puzzling how to get the most out of summer.

Still, raising children is no cake walk and I would rather that parents have the support they need from the government than the whole situation affecting the children.


Also as a Swede, I could never see myself raising kids in a country like the US. It's seems to be horrible in every day possible compared to here.

Fellow Swede, child-haver and boggled-mind-haver. The way I see it it's an extremely cheap investment from the state's point of view - 350 kSEK or so in exchange for two years lower stress levels for 3 citizens (child + parents). It should pay of many times over over the course of the life of those people in lower mental health issues and abscence from the work force.

Then also pay for de-stressing people without kids too. Get sports leave, or a walk in the park leave and incentives for running shoes.

Maternity leave isn’t even required by US law, which is insane.

I’m all for paternity leave (I’m a self-employed father of two so had to create my own). But let’s start with moms, or at least a parental bucket that either parent can draw from.


What do most American women do after having a kid, quit their job? You can't put a newbord in daycare can you?

> You can't put a newbord in daycare can you?

You can. Many daycares take babies from six weeks onwards. I cannot imagine how it must feel as a parent to do that at six weeks, but plenty do.


Jesus.

We felt bad when our second kid started daycare at 18 months.


Pick a job that offers actual maternal leave (teaching's probably the best—time it right and you get the Summer, too, plus your daily schedule will be close to that of your kid so you'll have lower daycare costs) or otherwise is either fairly tolerant of people disappearing for a while for kids or is easy to get back into after leaving—I don't have direct knowledge of this but I suspect family-friendliness and relative ease of relocation to follow a higher-earning spouse, say, is part of the appeal of all of teaching, nursing, and real estate agent..ry? ing?

Or just take barely enough unpaid leave (or draw on other pools of paid leave, which are usually tiny anyway and may have been eaten into over various pregnancy-related issues and appointments already) to get back on their feet and head back in, leaving the baby with a cheap unlicensed daycare down the street (maybe fine, maybe, uh, not, but not like there are other options on a limited budget) or older relative or whoever :-/


But daycare in the states can be _really_ expensive. In the Seattle area now the cheapest is about 30k a year, per kid.

For newborns or one-year olds and onwards?

Take unpaid leave for a short period of time and then daycare. Or leverage grandparents. Or stay at home.

Yes it is; 12 weeks per FMLA.

True, it is unpaid,but the job protection is there.


If you are a full-time employee at a large enough firm that also has enough density of employees in your area.

My son is turning one this month. My ability to work remotely for clients on a flexible schedule was absolutely crucial to our household's overall happiness and functionality. Truly, I am blessed.

I wish everyone could be able to do the same. Our children and families would be much better off for it.

I realize that it's impossible for everyone to have it, but we should at least aim for that. It would do so much for our society at-large.


Personally, I find working from home with young children almost impossible. They are a huge distraction.

6h naps would be nice... but you are lucky if you get 2 hours out of them.

Yup! Even with a full time caretaker, I can’t get much done at home.

I go into my office and shut the door. I put my headphones on and put on some music. I work the morning. I prepare lunch for anyone who wants it, help with the kids (we recently had twins), and then head back down for the afternoon. I've set boundaries with the grandparents and my wife has also worked full-time remote in her life so she already gets it. We'll see if the boundaries stick with the kids when they're older, though they may be in daycare before it becomes a problem.

I feel like the GP; truly, I feel blessed.


Took off 4 months in July for paternity leave.

I think it helps strengthen the organization because any gaps in information flow become noticeable. The success of complex projects should not depend on a single individual.

I accept that less time at work may put me behind on the career track; and I expect that in the future, there will be a wage gap between parents and non-parents.


It is really interesting to see how this is different from country to country. The Wikipedia overview [0] is fascinating!

Of course, as as European, it is mind-boggling how little (none) paid leave parents get in the US. I also like how Spain is now giving fathers the same paternal leave as mothers maternal leave (16 weeks).

I do think that parental leave is a really interesting instrument to enable parents to find a way for a more equal-opportunity take on careers. My wife and I deliberately split our time off 50/50 (7 months + 7 months, all paid leave in DE). Besides spending time with my daughter, which was (and continous to be) a mind-altering experience, this allowed both of our careers to progress similarly. I highly recommend it.

Also there is this more graphical representation at the BBC [1].

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave#By_country

[1] - https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190615-parental-leave...


In tech you can take paternity leave but there is no gaurantee that they won't shift your projects off to other people and there won't be a place for you when you get back. This has happened to me twice for both my kids, even though I was in great standing before taking leave. One time it led directly to my firing completely out of my control. Now I'm scared to take leave even if they offer it. So you can "take" paternity leave in most tech companies, but you will pay for it with your job indirectly.

Just as a reference point how maternity leave works in many parts of Europe, using Austria as a reference: a mother can choose between 1, 2 and 3 years of maternity leave. You'll get the same amount of money over the whole time, and it's covered by the health insurance, so the company doesn't have any costs. It's typical that mothers start part-time work afterwards to ease back into work life.

Fathers can also take paid paternity leave, usually you can split the leave with the mother however you want, and if you do you get a few months extra.

It's also typical that the father gets 3 weeks paid time off when a baby is born, to care for the family. I feel this was invaluable for me and my family.

I honestly find the US system inhumane, forcing mothers back into a job so soon, and a baby so young is just a tiny, vulnerable, little human. Too early to put them into daycare in my opinion, but I understand that many parents are forced to for financial reasons. The US healthcare really needs a big overhaul.


You make it sound like there is no cost for anyone but "health insurance", but it is costing everyone including yourself: higher taxes, higher prices, lower salaries. The result is a higher cost of living.

US can use the same system, factoring the cost of maternity leaves and the paternity leaves into the product prices or into reduced salaries. In the end, this is where money can be taken to cover.


So, if such things lead to more productive next-generation workers, it's possible that much like education, it's a net win, even if you don't have children yourself.

As someone who plans on retiring (without children of my own) - yes, I consider saving money for my own retirement to be pretty important, but I also see having people around that I can buy stuff from in my retirement as pretty important, too. I'd really like to have the benefits of an advanced economy, so I think it's worth kicking in a bit to see to it that the next generation is cared for and educated.

(Of course, I have no idea how important having mom and dad around the first few weeks is vs. having access to good schools or something else entirely. Not my field. But I am saying that it is in my interest to contribute towards having an advanced, educated workforce that is... working during the years while I'm retired.)


The US is already spending almost twice the amount on healthcare per person than Austria! https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-...

* US: $10,224

* Germany: $5,728

* Austria: $5,440

The system in the US is just totally dysfunctional, and I know a complex issue. But in essence it's using a lot more money than comparable countries but the benefits don't even compare remotely.


Except that being a parent is not a disease; a kid is not a sickness and it has nothing to do with healthcare. The mother recovering after giving birth is a health care matter, but that usually takes 6 weeks in most countries.

I fully agree that USA has a major problem with the healthcare system, but that is a different matter.


But where to draw the line in this economic assessment? What about the cost of the stress and mental health problems for both parents and children that are caused when lots of people are not given the opportunity to look after their newborns properly? The first few months for a new family are absolutely crucial in terms of baby health and parental relationships etc.

I think I was misunderstood: it is not about the economic assessment, it is about who is paying it. So far there is no good answer for that.

My point is - who pays if you don't do it?

I took a leave after the birth of my second child.

The company I worked for was based out of the valley and had recently announced proudly that they offered paid leave.

I was excited, until HR got back to me to tell me I didn't qualify because I didn't live in CA. They offered that I could take leave without pay.

Even the companies who seem to embrace such policies, may not in all cases.


I don't usually call for something like this, but please please please, if you are an FTE, name and shame the company here.

If this company wants to ride a wave of publicity and good will by telling the world they offer paid paternity leave, they should face the public scrutiny and blowback for such a disgracefully uneven application of said leave policy.


They have since been acquired and no longer exist.

Volvo is (going to?) offer all employees worldwide the equivalent of Swedish benefits: 480 days, of which 90 are barely paid and the rest at 80% with a limit at around lower middle class income (many companies top up to 80% of actual pay). Of the better paid days, 90 are dedicated to each parent.

How will they cover the cost? Lowering the salaries makes them not competitive, raising prices goes the same way, printing money does not work (they are not the Feds), what other options do they have?

I don’t know their reasoning, but it’s a pretty attractive deal for would-be parents which could make recruiting easier. And it’s probably partly brand building, which could allocate money from the advertising budget?

I live in a country in which women get a lot of time off after giving birth, men get some days and every family receives monthly cheques for one or two years after a baby is born. A new family can rake up a lot of free money either directly or with discounts, preferential treatment, bonuses, and support.

I'm against any type of incentive for newborns, because it all comes from the state, which means public money, which means taxes. I don't want to pay for other people's two-year vacation leave in which they play happy family while their employer is missing an employee and getting compensation with public money.

To me, if you can't or won't work, you must be replaced.


Is your country in a place with low birthrates and propping up its population with immigration?

I don't think your view is inconsistent, necessarily, but it comes down to different views about the role of the state, whether new generations are important, etc.

Anyway, in some ways we should be doing what we can do reduce birthrates as much as possible before we destroy ourselves and our life support system, but on the other hand making it possible for people to engage in about the most basic function of being an animal without destroying their lives isn't all bad.


Low birthrates yes, just like any other European country, with the added pressure of a strong catholic presence.

The state has been encouraging births as long as I remember. And while on one hand I can appreciate that everything is for the well being of newborns and a better society tomorrow, on the other all I notice are those who exploit this system to have years and years of paid leave and benefits.

It's just as libertarian as it gets, but if you can't feed them, don't make them. And I don't want my tax money to go into a safety net for people who made very poor life decisions.


Will you be happier with the tax money in your pocket and your local economy in the pits due to population aging?

Human population on earth has been rising since we're here. Just 100 years ago nobody would ever thought about spending public money to make new humans, and I think we all turned out fine.

The assumption that if we don't incentivize new births the conomy will collapse is just an assumption, because in many countries incentives are not in place, and you don't hear of economies collapsing and the elderly swarming the streets in search of food because people don't pop just the right amount of babies to reach the replacement rate.

And again, we cannot continue to grow indefinitely in a system of limited resources.


100 years ago life was pretty different. It was assumed mom would be home with kids, possibly grandparents, etc. Then we decided it was OK for women (including moms) to work. Then we restricted housing supply pushing most couples to be dual-earners (see The Two Income Trap). Then we found out working full time and raising a 6 day old is impossible. So we said "OK you can go watch your kid a tiny bit and not get fired". And here we are.

As for child benefit (the cash) I see why it grates tbh, but I think it's meant to help avoid kids being in abject poverty. Whether it works, well, I dunno.

I agree that we can't grow indefinitely, though.


> Then we found out working full time and raising a 6 day old is impossible. So we said "OK you can go watch your kid a tiny bit and not get fired". And here we are.

Employer-wise, pregnancies are a loss. You have one skilled worker parked for 1,2, or 3 years. You have to hire and train from scratch a replacement. You risk, basically.


> The assumption that if we don't incentivize new births the conomy will collapse is just an assumption

Not really:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/02/21/chinas-agi...

The economy might sort itself, but society has a much harder time of it.

Also, there's a class discrepancy in childbirth. In many affluent countries - as you've rightly pointed out - those who can live off what paltry state benefits exist (or even see the childbirth benefits boost their incomes) will - and will procreate abundantly, relying on the state. But quite frankly, those with limited access to contraception and the work-shy will procreate anyway, whether the state boosts their income or not.

Those with mortgages and careers and high IQ will not. Not that IQ is necessarily genetic, but it does tend to run in families.

The kinds of people who engage with HN are probably the kinds of people we should be encouraging INTO childbirth, not out of it - for the sake of society as well as for the sake of the economy.

And yes, there are limited resources. We need to deal with that. I don't think space travel or the next advance in GM is going to fix it all, by any stretch. We should do serious research into how to best fit the resource at hand, as a species.

But high-brow fear-mongering is the worst solution pragmatically. And parents with babies dying in the streets is the worst solution morally (and hygienically). You clearly have some intelligence, so don't settle for the false economy of unfeeling intellectualism, it's counterproductive. Find real solutions, not rhetoric.


> But quite frankly, those with limited access to contraception and the work-shy will procreate anyway, whether the state boosts their income or not. > Those with mortgages and careers and high IQ will not. Not that IQ is necessarily genetic, but it does tend to run in families.

I find all of this Neo-Malthusian. There's abundant data showing that the more educated is a population, the less kids per capita they produce. This does not mean that the uneducated or poor shouldn't reproduce.

> And parents with babies dying in the streets is the worst solution morally (and hygienically).

Oh come on, that's not what is going to happen if we lift the monthly baby cheque.


You're right, I totally said that the poor shouldn't reproduce.

And no, street children don't exist, philanthropists will always come and save the day. The world is a just and fair place, and the only people hurting are the struggling entrepreneurs, under the pain and indignity of dealing with maternity / paternity regulations. Enjoy the warmth of your delusions.


Fertility encouragement has been an active part of government, and religious (often a more potent power) policy for centuries.

And so let's assume it's the right thing to do, religious leaders and governments never fail.

That wasn't your initial assertion. Only that it wasn't a matter of public expenditure, which is manifestly false.

Were you raised by wolves? On a hyper capitalist Uber kibbutz?

.. you do realize you had guardians who took care of you, right?


The logic behind "you were once a kid, you must want kids of your own" really escapes me.

A (present or past colleague of mine) spent a few months living between the NICU and the office. In equal measures I was livid and heartbroken.

Odd that someone who doesn't need to work ever again would become a spokesman for this cause...

Sometimes it's the gift of being removed from the struggle which allows one to advance it further.

Ohanian is hardly the only voice for this policy. And many who are in similar positions to his actively oppose it (if rather more circumspectly).


Alexis conflates two things here: caring for his gravely ill wife, which U.S. law protects with 12 weeks through FMLA (unpaid, admittedly), and paternity leave. I don't think that staying out for a long stretch is a wise idea barring some unusual postpartum circumstance, and I certainly didn't do it even given the option. Taking a little time off to readjust to the baby's habits, but getting back to working reduced hours and some remote work if possible as quickly as possible seems better. Being productive at work is part of mental health, and I found it restorative to be able to have those periods without moment to moment concern for the baby.

Couldn't disagree more. I took eight weeks off when my child was born and I couldn't be happier that I did. I fail to see why it isn't a "wise idea" and why returning to work quickly "seems better".

Pretending to be busy is very effective as long as you are there to keep the ruse alive. Once you’re not there and your work is how you’re judged, things fall apart quickly. That’s why it’s a bad idea for some people to take leave. :)

providing paternal leave equal to maternal leave is also important for closing women-men pay gap and eliminating biases against women.

One great side effect of paternal leave is that it removes a big reason to (consciously or unconsciously) discriminate against women when hiring, as anyone is almost equally likely to eventually take extended leave.

So what is the way forward with getting parental leave enacted in the US? Calling our senators? My senator hasn't been the to the largest city in my state in a long time, so that feels largely ineffective.

I wish there was some sort of leave for when you take in foster children. I imagine though this could mean leave every few weeks to months to get a new child or children acclimated to life away from their parents (and otherwise the life they know). As a foster parent now I’ve been struggling for months to meet deadlines, keep up with the house and tend to the ever unknown needs of kids that have been taken away from their families. L

The sad part is that the US will only change their policy when from an demographic point of view they need to generate higher birth rates. For now, the US population is increasing without any stimulus. In Europe, aging populations have pushed governments to adopt more pro-parent policies.

Not very feasible in our debt-driven, paycheck-to-paycheck country with gig workers and contractors scraping by. Many of the startups and companies that frequent hacker news not only rely on this kind of labor, but are actively creating apps to further "uberize" the workforce.

I recently had twins and was very grateful my company recently added 6 weeks of paternity leave. Had this not been the case I would have been forced to use up my sick time which I will likely neee to use with my kids, and also would have been fairly worthless when I was at work.

Congrats and hang in there. Mine are 8 months old, and if one gets sick you can bet the other will follow soon. People who have had twins assure me that it does get easier.

At the startup (in the US) I work for I was lucky to have been able to take 12 weeks off at 100% PTO. I can't imagine working somewhere that didn't offer extended paid paternity leave.

Maybe with overpopulation we should not be encouraging more children.

That's true globally but many countries have birth rates below replacement levels. A declining population can cause problems just as an increasing one can.

when my nephew was born my younger brother told me he was taking "male maternity leave" -- love that kid! ;)

The reason is regardless of how much 'leave' you have its easy to get fired. If you fear for your job then it's better not to take too much leave. And managers have reason to make sure people fear for their jobs.

For another thing I don't think it is ethical. Specifically it is not fair towards people who do not have families. The loneliness we have to suffer is already punishment enough. We die earlier because we do not enjoy a happy life. Yes mothers should have a leave, because of simple necessity. But I don't think we should force people like me to compensate for fathers lack of will towards using their vacation days to care for their child.

Edit: of course medical emergencies are a different matter. I don't want to give the impression I want people to continue working if a dependant requires their care.


Parental leave benefits you even if you don't have children. When you're old and infirm, you'll be lucky if society has enough young people to pay into social services and/or healthcare.

You convince yourself of that. With male parental leave in place there won't necessarily be less children. Guys like sex after all. But we can be sure there will be less doctors available at any given time, because some of them will be on an unnecessary leave.

Besides, loners tend to die earlier anyways so we don't need so much Healthcare.




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