Generally, the only way you can get paid paternity leave is to work for an employer who offers it. Many countries require employers to provide statutory paternity leave, but this leave is usually unpaid. Depending on where you live, paid paternity leave might be a nationwide law, a local or regional law, or not a law at all. If your employer doesn’t offer paid paternity leave and your local, regional, or national laws don’t require it, you still have options. Some employers may allow employees to schedule vacation time, or use sick or annual leave days, after their children are born.
The simplest way to get paid paternity leave is to accept a job that includes paid paternity leave in its benefits package. Depending on where you live, this might be easy or it might seem impossible. For example, some countries with paternity leave, like the United Kingdom, require employers to provide eligible employees with a certain amount of paternity leave that is paid. In other countries, like the United States, paid statutory paternity leave isn’t required by law. Therefore, it could be difficult for men who are looking for a job to find an employer who provides anything more than unpaid statutory paternity leave.
If you’re already employed and aren’t sure about your employer’s paternity leave benefits, talk with someone in your human resources department. Ask this person to review your paternity rights and benefits with you. Many countries do require all or certain employers to provide unpaid statutory paternity leave, so chances are you’ll at least have the option of taking unpaid time. Depending on where you live, you might find that your local or regional laws require your employer or some other agency to provide eligible workers with some sort of paid paternity leave. For example, the state of California in the United States enacted the Paid Family Leave Law for all employees who pay into the state’s disability insurance fund.
If you find out you aren’t eligible for any kind of paternity leave, paid or otherwise, consider other options. Depending on your job, you might be able to schedule your vacation time after the birth of your baby. If you have accumulated annual leave or sick days, you might be able to take them. Consider opening a savings account to spend during that time, if those days aren’t paid. In order to make sure your plans are in agreement with your employer’s policies, be sure to talk with an employee in your human resources department.