While only 21 percent of U.S. companies offer paid maternity leave, an even skimpier 17 percent grant paid paternity leave, according to from the Society for Human Resource Management.
, Josh Levs, a former CNN correspondent, sued the company when they refused to grant him more leave after his daughter was born prematurely. The company policy was to give ten weeks for biological mothers but only two for biological fathers. (Parents of either gender who used a surrogate or adopted a child got the ten weeks.) Levs felt he needed to be home in order to care — with his wife — for their new child and two other young children. The case was settled out of court, but, according to Levs, Turner Broadcasting, which owns CNN, now allows six weeks paid leave to all new parents, with an additional six weeks for biological moms.
Fathers also complain that when they do take the leave they are offered, they suffer repercussions. One lawyer who took paternity and family medical leave after his second child was born said his bosses withheld work upon his return and derided and eventually fired him. In his lawsuit, he said the office culture “encourages male associates and partners to fulfill the stereotypical male role of ceding family responsibilities to women.”