{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I work at a midsize law firm. I have been there almost a year. My wife is having a baby soon. What is normal for paternity leave? The firm suggested two weeks. That seems a bit short. What is everyone’s experience with this? It’s our first child. Do I push back for more time? Since I haven’t been there a year yet, I am not eligible for state leave or federal unpaid leave.", "post_id": "61d28babb8acd1002ef71923", "reply_count": 22, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }
null

I work at a midsize law firm. I have been there almost a year. My wife is having a baby soon. What is normal for paternity leave? The firm suggested two weeks. That seems a bit short. What is everyone’s experience with this? It’s our first child. Do I push back for more time? Since I haven’t been there a year yet, I am not eligible for state leave or federal unpaid leave.

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3 months

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3 months isn’t given to most mothers after birth at a midsized or small firm. I got 6 weeks but it was short term disability and it was a joke. Fathers took their vacation time. Even at big law now I get 6 weeks paid but 12 off after a year of employment but fathers don’t get more than vacation either. You can ask for a month paid but don’t be surprised if the firm politely declines…congrats on the baby!

My firm does 10 weeks for dad - I took all 10 and was encouraged to do so.

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My firm (Midwest AM Law 200) doesn’t have a formal policy, but generally permits 3 weeks. I took 1 week with my first child and 2 weeks with my second. 12 weeks would be great, but I wouldn’t compare your midsize to a V50 firm with hundreds of attorneys and more established policies/procedures. By all means, push for as much time as you need, just don’t be surprised if there’s a little push back.

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I’m all for taking as much leave as possible, but at the end of the day you should ask others in your firm how much they have taken and take a similar amount. Maybe do your part by pushing it a week. But if the answer you get is that most are taking 2 weeks and you ask for 3 months, at a mid size firm, yeah that’ll probably look bad (and get rejected). It is what it is.

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Firms are all over the map on this. My buddy at DLA had something like 18-24 weeks, which he didn’t have to take all at once. My firm (AmLaw 120ish) offers three weeks, I think.

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My mid sized law firm gives 6 months (4 paid and vacation can be used to bump it to 5). Almost all moms and most dads use all of it. I’m not aware of any dad that used less than 3. Two weeks was the standard many years ago and the firm acknowledges those were cruel and dark times. Two weeks is not enough, push back if you can.

likesmart

Don't feel bad about asking for more time. The company will always be there, your new baby will be a newborn for such a fleeting moment. When you retire, it's memories with family that will be bring smiles to your face, not on the job memories. Not only will your wife appreciate it, you will will appreciate the extra family time too and you will come back a more refreshed and purposeful employee.

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Depends where in the country you live. My husbands firm offered 4 weeks but most dads don’t use it all. You won’t get this time back though so if you want more time, ask, and see what what they can do. Also I took maternity leave in 2019 and 2021 and having my husband wfh during the second one was amazing so see if that’s an option. You can still work a decent amount and get in baby breaks throughout the day and help your wife when she really needs it. Congratulations!

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This! My husband only took a week (fortune 50 but he was a consultant at the time, so he had to work to be paid at all) but during Covid he’s been WFH. Having him home with his whole office knowing we had a one week old was a huge benefit to me. That extra set of hands when you can barely walk is super helpful.

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2 kids. Had to switch jobs on both kids to get more than 2 weeks leave.

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Remember that you can 1) take your vacation after paternity leave or 2) take up to 12 weeks FMLA (although it will be unpaid). If you can swing it, even for a few extra weeks, your wife will thank you.

Wait you said almost a year - check to make sure you are FMLA eligible. Even if you aren’t eligible, the firm may allow you a couple of weeks unpaid regardless.

Really depends on your firm, and firms over a certain size typically have a policy (and advertise it). If your firm doesn't have a policy, then you can ask for the time you want (i.e., 3 months) and ask them how much of that can be paid. I'm in a small firm with no policy, and it was basically take your vacation time.

The bigger problem in a small or midsize firm is if the work on your plate will get done without you. I took a week for our first and worked a few hours a day from the hospital room for our second just to prevent emails from building up. My wife was a doctor at a hospital and was given no official time, so she took her vacation time, then took some unpaid leave time.

If they are saying 2 weeks is culture at the firm I would ask for 2 weeks paid + 4 weeks unpaid and see what you can get.

My family had a baby during the pandemic and we were not able to have much extended family support because of it, and other childcare options were challenging to find in our area. Another option you could explore is asking for a COVID-related accommodation for more flexible work schedule right now. After we had our baby my employer allowed me to have a reduced hours schedule for a period of time and my partner negotiated a similar situation at their firm. At first I was worried about it looking bad for career trajectory but I later felt like no one really cared because the pandemic has made postpartum period and childcare situations challenging for a lot of people.

As for 4 weeks. 6 if C section. That is some major major surgery

How things have been historically is not necessarily indicative of how things are today. Good employees have a lot of leverage these days.

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