Fathers’ rights have come a long way in Missouri in recent decades. Fathers and mothers stand on equal ground when it comes to pursuing child custody, as Missouri law no longer automatically favors women. However, many fathers still face an uphill battle when it comes to family matters.
For example, a number of fathers across the country are routinely denied paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a new child, while their employers do offer paid parental leave to female employees.
While the double-standard is an employment law issue rather than a family law matter, it does illustrate that fathers’ rights are not always recognized in this day and age.
One father of a new baby has recently filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing Time Warner of discriminating against new fathers.
The man’s employer, a subsidiary of Time Warner, reportedly offers 10 weeks of paid leave to birth mothers. Only two weeks of paid parental leave is offered to biological fathers.
Of course, this policy is more generous than those of many employers, which may not offer any paid parental leave to fathers. A poll recently revealed that only 15 percent of U.S. companies offer paid paternity leave.
However, more and more fathers are beginning to fight for the right to parental leave, and more lawsuits like the one against Time Warner are popping up.
What will ultimately come of such lawsuits remains to be seen. For now, the media attention that this problem is garnering is a reminder that although men and women are supposed to have the same legal rights and responsibilities when it comes to parenting – such as those related to child support and child custody – things are rarely very simple in the real world.
Source: New York Times, “Standing Up for the Rights of New Fathers,” Nov. 8, 2013