Nashville Dads: Exploring paternity leave policies

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Family Medical Leave Act gives new fathers 12 weeks of unpaid time off for a birth or adoption. The Department of Labor says only 13 percent of men get paid time off.

Tim Delger’s daughter June was born as he and his wife Nicole made a career transition from California to Nashville.

“It was a huge deal to help out at home and you know just be able to lend a hand wherever I could. Obviously I’m not going to be able to do all the stuff that’s Nicole’s able to do, but even if I can just was dishes or help out around the house it’s a huge help to her just to be there as an extra set of hands,” said Delger.

Now with a new daughter on the way, Nicole is thinking about the impact on June.

“Bringing this new baby in and transitioning our daughter really well. Making sure that that’s a positive experience for her. She has a sister and the dynamics are going to change,” added Nicole.

States like California, New Jersey and Rhode Island offer dads some paid time off, which research says keeps them more involved in their kid’s lives when they go back to work.

Nashville advertising agency Bohan is rare in that they just doubled their paid leave for new dads.

“We changed it about 30 days ago. It’s pretty aggressive. We’re at six weeks. And they have their sick time, their vacation time. So potentially, they could have ten to twelve weeks off,” said Bohan president and CEO Shari Day.

“When they announced the paternity leave at work, my jaw just dropped. I couldn’t believe I was going to get that much time off, it was really amazing.” said Delger.

The benefits to Delger’s family are obvious but Day said it’s a two-way street.

“So it definitely was a big decision. But we spend a lot of money on recruiting. A lot of time, effort, money. Our industry spends a lot on it. So what we really had to focus on was retention,” added Day.

Delger said the time off makes him feel more loyal to his company and it certainly helps ease his wife’s nerves.

“That’s a really wonderful amount of time to be able to bond as a family and to set up really healthy patterns so when he does go back to work we’re going to have a routine at the end of the day,” said Nicole. “I’m going to be less exhausted, all of these things are going to be better. So we’re just going to be able to reap the benefits. And I love that.”

The main factor that prohibits new fathers from taking time off is money. Without paid time off, most families can’t afford for a dad to miss work.

The Delgers just welcomed their new baby girl.