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Paternity leave: what Texas fathers should know

Young Texas fathers may not be aware many can take unpaid paternity leave from their jobs when their families grow by childbirth or adoption, or when a child or spouse is sick. FindLaw seeks to make families aware of this provision the Family and Medical Leave Act offers to covered workers. 

According to FindLaw, stipulations for taking advantage of paternity leave include the need for steady employment - at least one year - by a "covered employer," such as a school system, the federal government or a participating private company. Specifications for location and the amount of hours worked also factor in. If a new father believes he has met the stated requirements and wishes to take advantage of the provision, talking to a supervisor should be his next step.

The idea of a father taking a leave of absence for his son's or daughter's birth is a relatively new development in the 21st century. Why, one might ask, do some families believe so strongly in this developing trend? 

The Department of Labor answers the question quite clearly. "Longer paternity leaves are associated with increased father engagement and bonding." With all the talk of the strain caused by absentee fathers these days, the idea of increasing father-child bonding appeals to many family-focused husbands and wives. The DOL suggests the extensive interaction paternity leave allows sets a strong foundation for family relationships because it contributes to a pattern of interconnectedness. Incidentally, that connection then positively influences a child's health and development. 

Fathers interested in having a strong influence on their children, the DOL reports, may still find the "male breadwinner" culture discouraging enough to hesitate taking a lengthy leave of absence. However, for maintaining a healthy work-life balance while managing things on the home front, the DOL emphasizes the significance of paternity leave in helping achieve these goals. 

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