Men taking paternity leave to have lasting family benefits

Published: Feb. 3, 2020 at 9:28 AM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Ready or not, Richie Goodman knows 24 hours from now life is about to change.

“Last day as a family of three and then tomorrow hopefully everything goes well and we’ll be a family of four,” said Goodman.

He works for Duke Energy in Charlotte and it’s his final day before baby number two arrives. He’s taking advantage of Duke Energy’s parental leave policy and getting six weeks off - paid in full. He says the role of mom and dad is critical in their family structure.

“There are little things like being able to go to the grocery store in the middle of peak flu and cold season, but my wife doesn’t have to take an infant with her because I’m at work,” Goodman said. “Then just working with my wife and our partnership as parents for two children versus one. What that dynamic looks like. How can I be helpful and be present for that.”

Goodman seems to be the exception than rule. According to the Department of Labor, 70 percent of fathers only take 10 days of leave or less for the birth of a child. Men don’t want to be perceived as less dedicated to their work... a stigma Goodman is thankful doesn’t exist for him in the workplace.

“I was not only encouraged by my teammates but they were excited for me. They wanted me to take advantage of this opportunity. They were really wiling and ready to step up and be a part of that,” said Goodman.

So men listen up: When fathers take longer paternity leaves it’s associated with increased father engagement, improved health and development outcomes for children, and higher cognitive test scores for children.

Duke Energy also reaps the benefits by offering the same paid parental leave to their female employees and male employees like Richie.

“We started offering this in 2017. It really was in response to employee interest and really a way for us to be competitive and attract and retain the best employees here at Duke Energy,” said Meghan Miles with Duke Energy Corporate Communications.

“I think I’m lucky that I work for a company like Duke Energy that understands both fathers and mothers have an important role in their kids’ lives,” says Goodman.

According to the Department of Labor report on paternity leave, in a study of professional fathers 9 out of 10 reported having a paid parental leave policy and said it was important when looking for a new job. Among millennial works this was *very important.

By the way, Richie and his wife welcomed their second child, Lucy Madelyn into world.... Everyone is doing well, including big brother, Davis.

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