The American workplace is stuck in a time warp, writes Josh Levs in his new book, All In: How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses — And How We Can Fix It Together.
While employers often presume that working mothers will drop out, or slow down, to care for kids, they expect dads will work full steam ahead without missing a beat. Those assumptions turn up in maternity and paternity leave policies that discriminate against both men and women, he says.
Levs, a former NPR reporter, knows this firsthand. He was the fatherhood reporter for CNN and his wife was pregnant with their third baby when his own life became part of the dad-news beat. Levs wanted to use one of the great benefits offered by Time Warner, CNN’s parent company: 10 weeks paid leave for caregivers. However, he was told he wasn’t eligible.
“It was just this really weird policy,” Levs told The Huffington Post. Men could get the 10 weeks if they adopted a child or used a surrogate, but fathers whose partners gave birth got just two weeks of paid leave. (They could take an additional 10 weeks unpaidthrough the Clinton-era Family Medical Leave Act.)
Levs asked Time Warner if it could change the policy months before his daughter arrived on the scene. The company didn’t give him an answer until 11 days after his daughter was born in 2013 — prematurely, because his wife was suffering from severe preeclampsia. Still, the answer was no. “The discrimination just floored me,” he said.
HuffPost talked to Levs about what happened next, his vision for family leave and the struggles men face today as they try to have it all.
Click Read More to read the interview.