Photo: Becca Tarter
People across the country are finally cognizant of the need for paid paternity leave, but still less than one in five men in the U.S. have access to it. Now, it appears that a major company is done waiting for its peers to change their policies before fathers can spend time with their newborns.
Dove is taking on paid paternity leave through its men’s skincare line by launching a paternity leave fund with a $1 million commitment. The fund will give $5,000 grants to expecting fathers over the next two years and is intended for those who do not have the option of paid leave through their work.
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The application process includes a series of 250-word answers about the kind of parent each man hopes to be. Fathers are expected to share their thoughts on the following questions:
- How would the Dove Men+Care Paternity Leave Grant help you and your family?
- Besides financial strain, what other factors get in the way of taking the full amount of paternity leave that your company offers?
- If you receive the grant, how much paternity leave do you plan to take? What do you hope to accomplish during your paternity leave and why?
- What does being a caring dad mean to you today, and what do you want your legacy as a caring dad to be?
- What do you wish society knew about the importance of fatherhood that they currently overlook?
The paternity leave fund is meant to help soon-to-be dads who are in “urgent need of support,” according to the application. But Dove’s initiative is about more than temporary and sporadic relief; its mission is to “make paid paternity leave the new standard,” according to Dove’s website.
Only 15% of dads in the U.S. have paid leave to bond with their newborn. Let’s change that. Join us and @alexisohanian in signing the Pledge. #PaternityLeavePledge https://t.co/1xbf8bShID pic.twitter.com/5GkpMy69L6
— Dove Men+Care (@DoveMenCare) February 19, 2019
For that reason, Dove has created a pledge for paternity leave (anyone who applies for the grant must take it). Current or expecting fathers pledge to take their full leave, allies promise “to share the positive impacts of paternity leave and call on officials to endorse parental leave policies,” and business leaders swear “to enact paternity leave policies that foster an empowering professional environment,” according to the pledge’s text.
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