Tag Archives: leave

Why Meternity Leave is Ridiculous

Looks like author Meghann Foye sparked a conversation — and a controversy — with the release of her new novel "Meternity."

Meghann thinks people without kids should get an extended break from work, just like their co-workers who go on maternity or paternity leave. She speaks from experience. Years ago, Foye took her own self-financed meternity leave to kick start her writing career. I understand where Meghann is coming from. Burnout is a big problem in this country and childless workers are at risk because the perception is they are available all the time.  Everyone deserves "me time" which is why many workplaces have vacation days and Paid Time Off. .

But Americans aren't even taking the paid vacation time coming to them. Every year they leave tons of paid vacation days unused out of fear for their jobs, or too big a workload or all kinds of other reasons.  So are people going to take three months off unpaid for meternity leave? Let's be real, they most certainly are not.

If you have the desire and some savings, whether you are a parent or a single employee, you can take meternity leave any time you want. It's called quitting your job, regrouping and forging a new path that gives you the work life balance you seek. In that sense, meternity leave already is available to all workers.

On the flip side, what's going on in this country with maternity leave is pitiful.

Right now, 1 out of 4 mothers only takes two weeks off to have a kid, despite the toll on their bodies and the sleepless nights. Why? They can't afford to take more than that because our nation has no national policy on paid parental leave. Let's focus on getting that first. Let's help parents get the time they need to bond with their newborn, establish a routine and get ready for the balancing act that lies ahead. That will make a difference in our communities and for our families.  

What are your thoughts on meternity leave? Is it an insult to new parents? If you could afford it, would you take it?


The Work/Life Balancing Act

Good news: CEOs say they support paternity leave





What do you want to hear first — the good news or the bad news?


First the good news. The Miami Herald polled local CEOs about their support of paternity leave. Most say they support it. 

Here's what they had to say…..

The question: Should male employees be given the option of taking paternity leave? Does your company offer it?


Yes, they should but only for one week to support the childbearing wife. Our company does offer it.

Daniel Ades, managing partner, Kawa Capital Management


Yes. It’s a win-win when companies support employees through life issues large and small. rbb’s employee-driven workplace believes in allowing time off for both men and women.

Christine Barney, CEO, RBB Communications


Male employees should definitely have the option of taking paternity leave even if it’s only for a couple of days. When returning home after giving birth, mom needs help with the new baby and most importantly being home will allow the father to bond with the new baby in this very happy emotional time especially if it’s the first one when you go from being a couple to being a family.

Richard Behar, Founder and CEO, Capitol Clothing Corp.


Yes, only when mothers with medical reasons are not able to take care of their baby. My company offers paternity leave.

Carmen Castillo, president and CEO, SDI International


I think that on a case-by-case, male employees should be given the opportunity for paternity leave. Each family’s needs are different, and it may be that while the mother is carrying the child, the father will be the providing the primary care. It is important to maintain an open mind for the benefit of the family and the employer and do what makes the most sense.

Alicia Cervera Lamadrid, managing partner, Cervera Real Estate


Yes, of course; men are needed at home just as moms are at the start of a child’s life. We do offer it to our staff.

Pandwe Gibson, executive director, EcoTech Visions


Giving birth is an extraordinary physical and emotional experience for a woman. Maternity leave is necessary to enable women to absorb this experience while bonding with their child. I don’t think such leave is necessary for men.

Julie Grimes, managing partner, Hilton Bentley Hotel


YES and YES. Parental leave is a critical need and benefit that is offered in every industrialized country EXCEPT the U.S. We need to support programs that support families and children to create a better society for all. My Canadian nephews all took 6 months off, of the one year that Canada offers for maternity leave, to bond with their babies and claim that it was the best experience of their lives. My son works for the Department of the Navy so he also took paternity leave and LOVED it! He needed it because he had premature twins that required weeks at the hospital and at home before he could leave his family with any confidence.

Ann Machado, founder and president, Creative Staffing


No — and we don’t offer it. However, we are sympathetic to fathers of newborns and are very flexible with their schedules wherever possible.

Victor Mendelson, co-president, HEICO


Yes, as a father of two young boys, I think time off for both parents is important. We do not have a formal policy in place for paternity, but we are flexible with our new parents to work within their needs.

Nitin Motwani, managing principal, Miami Worldcenter Associates


In short, yes. At this point, we don’t offer paternity leave, but we do consider it on a case-by-case basis. We review our benefits annually and make adjustments as needed and upon request by the staff. It’s a system that works well for our restaurant and our large employee base.

Abe Ng, founder and CEO of Sushi Maki


We believe in policies that attract the best and the brightest. As a first-time parent to a 13-month-old, the difficulties that all parents face are very real to me. From a business perspective, we are always willing to work with people when they are a productive member of our community.

Todd Oretsky, co-founder, Pipeline Brickell


Yes, male employees deserve to have the time to care for a newborn or adopted child and foster that special bond that is so important in the life of a child and parent. At Miami Dade College, we offer leave (vacation, sick time and/or FMLA) to all eligible employees, and male as well as female employees may take the time to care for a child whether it is due to birth, adoption or medical issue.

Eduardo Padrón, president, Miami Dade College


Male employees should be afforded paternity time, though I think it’s at every business’ discretion to determine the appropriate leave length and compensation arrangements. Since my company is still small, we don’t have a formal policy regarding paternity leave, but we pride ourselves on being flexible about all employees’ family obligations and concerns.

Joanna Schwartz, CEO and co-founder, EarlyShares


Yes, men should have some time to bond with and assist with the family’s newest blessing. We do allow for the time, but we do not entitle it “paternity leave.”

Darryl K. Sharpton, president and CEO, The Sharpton Group


The birth of a child and the adoption of a child are transformative moments for any family and for all parents. Akerman offers our male and female lawyers paid parental leave following the birth of a child. Lawyers serving as primary care-givers are provided paid leave following the placement of a child through legal adoption.

Andrew Smulian, chairman and CEO, Akerman LLP


Family friendly policies are important for both men and women. Paternity leave is common in countries where there is a much higher level of taxation — and corresponding social benefits. We don’t have paternity or specific maternity leave; in general, staff take vacation time.

Gillian Thomas, president and CEO, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science


I believe that family, in whatever form, is very important and it’s critical parents have the opportunity to make a positive impact on his/her child. When parents are in a child’s life from the very beginning, great things happen for the family, the workplace(s) and the community: a. The child grows up feeling valued and loved; b. The workplace(s) builds a culture where family is valued; c. Not only do both parents share in the household responsibilities, but both parents take time from work, which can help with equality in the workplace; d. Feeding South Florida does allow fathers to take paternity leave.

Paco Velez, CEO, Feeding South Florida


Yes, I believe male employees should be given that option and we do offer Child Care Leave for both men and women. Even more important than offering it, companies should strive to create a culture that encourages men to take advantage of that leave. Enabling fathers to take time to bond with and care for their new child benefits not only the home and family, but also the future of the mother’s career if she chooses to have one outside of the home.

Alina Villasante, founder, Peace Love World clothing


There’s no right or wrong answer to this, but I personally do not think male employees need a paternity leave option. Therefore, it is not something we offer.

Marlon Williams, founder and CEO, Fenero


Yes, male employees should have the option. Our company is pretty progressive when it comes to family leave. We offer paid maternity/paternity leave to our employees as needed. Many of our male employees, including myself, have young children and wives who work outside of the home, so we understand the importance of having such an option available to us.

John Wood, president, Amicon Construction


Now the bad news….

Research shows only 13% of employers offer paid paternity leave,  and most men don't take paternity leave even when offered. New fathers give reasons that include stigma, guilt and fear of reprisal.

While it's great paternity leave is a topic of conversation, let's hope we see some significant changes in corporate policies and real life practices.

When dads bond with babies, it helps men feel like they are part of the team. Teamwork makes work life balance better for mom and dad.

What are your thoughts on paternity leave? While the Miami CEOs say they support it, few have policies that directly address it. Is that okay? Do we need formal policies?




The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why paternity leave is the hot topic this Father’s Day



As we head into Father's Day weekend, the topic du jour is paternity leave.

We are hearing about who offers it, who doesn't, who takes it, who doesn't take it and why we should care about it. 

The bottom line is that when fathers take time off when their babies are born, they establish a lifelong bond, according to research. That's not to say fathers who don't take paternity leave don't bond. It's just that when they do take it, a pattern is established that's good for fathers, mothers and babies. It sets the tone from day one that dad will be involved in childcare.

One of the interesting trends we are seeing around paternity leave is even as national efforts are underway to promote more businesses to offer paternity leave, men are admitting they often are afraid to take it even if it's offered. They fear being stigmatized as someone who is less committed to work.

So basically, fathers are fighting two battles. One to get family-friendly policies approved. A second one to be able to use those policies without being penalized.

Both are worth the attention media outlets are giving them. Paternity leave is a family friendly benefit that fathers can claim for themselves. It moves the conversation about balancing work and family from being a "mother's issue" to being a father's issue, too)

This morning, I heard a report on paternity leave on NPR. I've seen articles in Fortune, in USA Today, in TIME.

Even celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson has hyped the topic by announcing Virgin will give new fathers up to 12 months paid time off (if they qualify). 

 Lifehacker has drawn up a list of companies with the best paternity leave policies

I expect the conversation will continue well after Father's Day has come and gone. I hope it will continue because what's good for fathers is good for families.

Unfortunately, only about 14% of private employers in the US offer paid paternity leave, according to a 2014 survey by the Families and Work Institute. Right now, offering paid paternity leave is useful in the war for talent, but that's assuming fathers covet such a benefit and plan to use it. 

We have a long way to go to make fathers part of the work life conversation, but the discussion has begun and we are moving in the right direction.

Happy Father's Day!


The Work/Life Balancing Act

“Don’t leave college without a husband”: Mom’s advice causes a stir

What the heck is going on? The women's movement is in turmoil.

The newest controversial figure to get women's panties in a tightwad is Susan Patton who wrote an open letter published in the school newspaper to the Ivy League school's female students.In the letter, Patton tells female students that they should take the opportunity to find a husband while on campus before they graduate, because they will never again have a deep pool of qualified potential mates once they leave.

"Smart women can't (shouldn't) marry men who aren't at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are,” she wrote.

“And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you. Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them."

Patton, a 1977 graduate, is the mother two boys — a Princeton alum and a current undergraduate  – and says if she had daughters, that's the advice she would be giving them.

What craziness!

I did exactly what Patton is telling the female students to do. I met my husband my senior year of college and got engaged shortly after graduation. I'm married 26 years. You won't find me writing a letter like Patton's. As blogger Vivia Chen writes: "Fact is, it's not always easy to make the transition from a college relationship into adulthood. People grow up and grow apart." So true, Vivia, so true….

While my husband and I have grown up together, it hasn't always been easy to work through the what it takes to accommodate two career interests at the same time.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, has said, "The most important career choice you'll make is who you marry. I have an awesome husband, and we're 50/50." 

She spoke passionately about how there's a "stalled revolution for women" right now, and how having a supportive spouse — a real partner — will play a huge part in your success.

Don't get me wrong, I can see where Patton is coming from. As a student you're in contact with people your own age, or close to your age most of the time, which makes meeting potential partners much easier. But does that really need to be a graduation goal for young women? Those Princeton guys might be smart, but we've all learned that it is what you do with that knowledge that counts.

My advice to my daughter is make your education and career a priority while you are young and you will find the right guy at the right time who supports your choices.That right time might be in college or it might be a decade later.

What do you think about Patton's advice to young women? What would your advice be?


Susan patton
(Princeton grad Susan Patton unintentionally launched a media storm with her open letter to young women.)



The Work/Life Balancing Act

Why do workers leave unused vacation days on the table?

Are you going to forfeit vacation days this year?

If you're answer is yes, you have lots of company. It's easy to lose track of where you stand with your vacation days –  so ask about days earned and days used and days you can carry over – and do it now while you still have a chance to schedule time off.

Today, I wrote a Miami Herald column about the increasing number of people who aren't using their paid vacation time — that's a form of compensation that goes right back to your employer instead of to you. Even if you're not planning a get away, a day off at home helps a lot with work life balance. And, you might even consider spending the day making doctor's visit as the year comes to a close. By now, most people have reached their deductible so it's a great time for any lingering ailments you might want examined.



Work/Life Balancing Act

Many are feeling the vacation day squeeze

American workers are leaving a growing number of vacation days on the table as work demands increase.

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Dwight O'Neal, a sales support representative for Josie Maran Cosmetics, is shown with Josie Maran. He loves his job and doesn't like to take vacation days at this time of the year.
        Dwight O'Neal, a sales support representative for Josie Maran Cosmetics, is shown with Josie Maran. He loves his job and doesn't like to take vacation days at this time of the year.    




            Inside Sephora, where nail polishes and perfumes abound, Dwight O’Neal holds out a makeup brush to dab his brand’s illuminizer on a young woman. Over the next few weeks, O’Neal will travel to Sephora stores throughout the Southeast prettying potential customers to pump up sales of Josie Maran products. With his intense schedule during the holidays, taking a vacation day is out of the question.

For O’Neal, an educator and sales support representative with Josie Maran Cosmetics, that means thinking strategically and using his vacation time in February, rather than forfeiting days off at year end.

As 2012 draws to a close, the question looms: Are you going to accidentally forfeit vacation days?     

      For an increasing number of American workers, the answer is yes.

“Now is the time of year that everyone should take note of his or her company’s vacation policy,” says employee benefits expert Joanne Apice. You should know if you can carry over vacation days and if so, how many.

A survey by Harris Interactive found that by the end of 2012, Americans will leave an average of 9.2 days of vacation unused, up from 6.2 days last year. It also found profits per employee are at a 10-year high, mostly because workers are cramming in more hours.

O’Neal says in December he crams in hours at Sephora by choice. He loves his job showing customers how to use Josie Maran’s organic cosmetics and wouldn’t want to take a day off during busy season even if he could. “In retail, December is a blackout period but that’s OK with me. I love being on the floor, interacting with customers.”

Others say they, too, try to be strategic about vacations, well aware of policies on “use them or lose them” and end-of-the-year blackout periods in industries such as hospitality, retail and healthcare. But inevitably, there are those who lose track of where they stand with vacation days.

“There are workers who are scrambling to get days off scheduled,” Apice says. “When you have multiple employees in that situation and you still have work that needs to be done, it is a challenge to balance scheduling and management of the department.”

Yet, for some workers, particularly at high levels, there’s a reluctance to take time off. An increasing number of people say they can’t afford to take all the vacation allotted to them because work piles up. Others conclude that they are just too busy to take time off or don’t want to send the signal that they are not committed.

Peter Mendez, a finance services executive, says he will be among those who leave vacation time unused in 2012, mostly because he fears the mountain of work that awaits upon return. “It is too painful coming back to 2,000 emails.”

Forfeiting vacation time happens even as American bosses encourage employees to take their earned time off. According to an Expedia survey, the majority of Americans workers said their bosses support taking their allotted time off, with only 5 percent who said their bosses weren’t supportive. “Employers give vacation time to recharge so that when you come back you are refreshed and can perform better,” Apice said.

John Morrey, general manager of Expedia.com, said in a statement, “Your vacation days are not a gift, not a luxury. They’re yours to use. Studies consistently show that an ideal work-life balance leads to happier and more productive employees.”

Read more…

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/27/3116029/many-are-feeling-the-vacation.html#storylink=cpy



The Work/Life Balancing Act