(MoneyWatch) While the government's Family and Medical Leave Act allows for 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave (gender of parent not specified), people generally ask the mother, not the father, about her company's particular maternity leave policy, and how much time she'll take. And paid policies for both parents vary widely from company to company, unlike in Europe and in Australia.
However, at some forward thinking companies, who realize bringing home baby requires more than the physical exertions surrounding labor and delivery -- most notably, the round the clock care necessary with a newborn -- paternity leave policies are growing in popularity. Here are three stories of dads who were able to focus on their families and bond with their young children, longer than has historically been the norm (presumably without losing a step at the office).
Adobe gave me two weeks paid paternity leave when my wife had our twins. It was extremely helpful because as first-time parents, the learning curve for dealing with newborn twins was -- well, vertical! My wife was so overwhelmed, and it really helped her to have me there. I got to enjoy the babies more than I would have during that time, had I just been home during those dreadful nights. -- Michael West, software engineer at Adobe Systems in Provo, Utah
I've got two kids under the age of two. I've been with Edelman 12 years. For both, I got two weeks of paternity [leave]. It was one of the most chaotic but relaxing times of my life. For both, I waited a week before taking the paid time off, since we had so much help at home anyway with in-laws and such. That part was tough. But the two weeks following were such a great time. --Michael Mccullough, vice president at Edelman in Atlanta, Ga.
My company does not necessarily offer "paternity leave," however, they are very sympathetic and accommodating to a new addition to your family. I am allowed to take off however many days I need to help my wife transition the new baby to our home and create a parental bond. I am able to perform my job remotely two days a week from home, which in turn takes away my 45 minute commute to work and allows for more time to help. This added perk has been a real blessing for my family and I, as it allows for me to be a much better father to my children and husband to my spouse. --Bryan Wheeler, underwriter with the Oak Mortgage Group in Dallas, Texas
Dads: How did your paternity leave (or lack of one) compare? Please share in the comments section below.