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Dads Want Fewer Kids After Getting Paid Paternity Leave, Study Finds

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In March 2007, Spain implemented a national policy which allowed new fathers two weeks of fully paid paternity leave. As of 2018, it was increased to five weeks. And, while the amount of interest in leave continues to increase, economists were surprised by another finding in a recent study.

According to the study, published in the Journal of Public Economists, economists Lídia Farré of the University of Barcelona and Libertad González of the University of Pompeu Fabra, found that parents who had been eligible for the program were, "7% to 15% less likely to have another kid than parents who just missed the eligibility cutoff."

There are several reasons as to why this might be. Most moms are likely thinking the same thing: "because staying at home with kids is HARD!" But, research is supporting what most of us already know. There is nothing easy about raising children. And, now, some dads are getting a dose of reality! Staying at home may offer a new perspective for fathers;  realizing just how challenging caring for children 24/7 can be.

Interestingly, while men's desire to have more children decreased, Farré and González found that the policy had the opposite effect on women. As the workload of the household and children became shared, the desire for larger families increased among women.

Photo Credit: https://www.theatlas.com/charts/rJG1NBk24

While it is important not to make sweeping conclusions from one study, in one country, the findings are certainly thought-provoking. Of course there are many factors that can impact the decision of whether or not to add to your family. The cost associated with multiple children, as well as the global financial crisis that impacted Spain a year ago, are both important factors to take into consideration.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), most, but not all, parents are able to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave without the thereat of losing their job. Employees qualify when they have worked 1,24o hours, over twelve month period, at a company that employs over fifty people. However, the FMLA does not require you to be paid while on leave. This often means that while you are able to take the time off, your aren't necessarily able to afford it.

There is no denying that moms are drowning in stress. And, wouldn't it be wonderful to have the option of having another adult around, at least for a few weeks, to help lessen the burden? Let's hope that one day, we'll be able to find out.

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