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my coworker is utilizing paid paternity go away to work a second job as a substitute of caring for his child — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

My firm lately expanded its parental go away coverage in order that anybody, no matter gender, will get the identical, beneficiant go away of six months totally paid. It’s known as “bonding go away” so the intent is fairly clear. One in all my male colleagues advised me very matter of factly that he’s aspiring to take his full go away after his spouse’s paid maternity go away is up. However, as a substitute of caring for the child, he’s going to get a “second” job for six months and his spouse goes to remain house with the child and take unpaid go away from her job. In impact, he may have two salaries (however work one job), and he or she may have no wage. They may really web out forward financially as a result of he earns greater than her. He’s really going to make tremendously extra money throughout these 6 months, as a result of he’s going to do an hourly contractor job, since his advantages are paid for by our firm.

I’m appalled however can’t put my finger on why this bothers me a lot. His level is that our firm – a Fortune 500 firm with tens of hundreds of staff and loads of cash – is just not paying a penny greater than they’d in any other case; he doesn’t wish to look after the child full-time and his spouse desperately does, so they’re “maximizing utility.” I didn’t wish to ask too many questions as a result of it might have been clear I disapprove. A part of it’s, I’m a brand new mother myself however had my child earlier than the brand new coverage was introduced so was solely capable of take 18 weeks (nonetheless beneficiant, however I’m undoubtedly jealous and form of mad my child didn’t “depend” within the new coverage).

I believe my subject is, he’s ruining it for these of us who’ve fought for expanded childcare protection. Is that this an HR violation or simply somebody neatly benefiting from the system?

Whether or not it’s an HR violation is dependent upon how your organization’s coverage is written. If the wording makes clear that the go away is supplied particularly to care for a kid, then it ought to certainly be a violation. Even when not written that clearly, although, if it’s apparent that that’s the spirit of the coverage, your organization may nonetheless contemplate it a violation.

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However I believe the rationale you’re so bothered isn’t that it’s an HR violation. Moderately, it’s precisely what you wrote in your final paragraph: Many, many individuals — principally girls — have fought lengthy and laborious for higher parental go away as a result of the period of time most American firms present is shamefully low and a real hardship for households. To see this dude utilizing an excellent parental go away coverage in a means that it clearly wasn’t supposed — to not maintain his child however to earn extra money, and being so flagrant about it — looks like a kick within the face to everybody who has fought for this and to everybody who nonetheless doesn’t have it.

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I’m not as nervous as you’re that he’s gong to break it for everybody else; it’s extra seemingly that your employer would tighten up their methods moderately than revoke the profit altogether. But it surely’s definitely a priority too. You get the sensation this man is working with a whole disregard for the affect his actions may need on individuals who really want the go away to truly care for brand new infants.

The truth that he’s a person doing this makes it burn much more — as a result of it’s a reasonably secure assumption that he hasn’t been on the market pushing for higher maternity go away and extra help for breast-feeding mothers and an finish to the wage hole — and but he’s completely joyful to tear off (and perhaps jeopardize) the work of the ladies who’re nonetheless combating these battles.

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