|Change.org, PR to the Rescue of Parental Leave with #ChangeLeave
By: Shawn Paul Wood
Once upon a time, my bride was with child. It was our first, as a matter of fact. A glorious time. We couldn't wait. Every kick, flutter, and Braxton-Hicks moment, we cherished. Well, not so much of the latter (for her, at least).
And then it happened. A time every father can certainly relate to if stuck at work during the blissful and highly anxious last trimester — I got “the call.”
Like a Kardashian to a loose $100 bill on the ground in front of a TV camera, I darted out the door. Smiling, laughing, speeding. Suddenly, my phone rang. “Where are you going?” Now, although I had informed my director about my anticipated sudden departure, I still got that question.
I padded my resume two days later.
ME: “My wife is having our baby. I’m on the way to the hospital. Isn’t that great?”
THE TOOL: “Uh, yeah. Congrats, but you are coming back to work today, right?”
ME: “I wasn’t planning on it.”
*gritting my teeth and biting my tongue until blood squirted out of my nose*
THE TOOL: "I understand, but call me tomorrow. We have a few deadlines.”
Stories like this are all too common for the fathers of America who give a care about their child being born. And now, with the modern family of the world, you'd think partners of any type get a fair shake. Uh, no. The resilient non-profit Change.org has decided to take that (and the U.S. government) to task on this with a brazen blog post in the Huffington Post. In the editorial, we are afforded the insight of David Hanrahan, the Head of Global HR at Change.org, who writes:
And then, there’s this:
"The state of parental leave in the U.S. sucks." He cites several statistics to back up his claim — the U.S. is only one of three countries that doesn't mandate paid leave at the federal level. The 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides new mothers with 12 weeks of job protection after giving birth, but that does not include guaranteed pay.
Hanrahan’s goal is for all parents — dads, moms, biological, adoptive, or otherwise — to be granted 18 weeks of fully paid leave. Why? Because you suck if you think anything else, that’s why.
And so, Change.org has created the hashtag #ChangeLeave to spread the word. Following the announcement today, they will contact business leaders to explain why generous leave policies are mutually beneficial for employees and employers.
One of only three countries? Child, please. Literally.
Shawn Paul Wood
is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here
or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood