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'Daddy wars': The Atlantic debates paternity leave

Published: Friday, Jan. 3 2014 6:40 p.m. MST

Alexis C. Madrigal, an Atlantic editor who took two months of partially paid leave when his baby was born, believes fear keeps some men from jumping in and taking time off. The only way to get over baby-instilled terror, he notes, is to spend time with them.

"From a policy perspective, I think what my experience suggests is that if we want men to take more paternity leave, there have to be ways for men to learn how to take care of babies before they make the decision about how much paternity leave they're going to take," he writes.

Paid paternity leave is a sound economic choice for companies, according to Arlie Hochschild, author of "The Second Shift" and professor emerita of sociology at the University of California Berkeley. She notes that "there’s something in it for the bottom line. Paternity leave enables families to survive in an increasingly unpredictable economy. It’s hard to know whose salary — his or hers — will be higher, and paternity leave helps parents become more domestically interchangeable. Just as companies 'cross-train' workers to meet shifting market demands, so spouses need to cross-train at home."

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