Editorial: A Bronx Dad Weighs in on the Family and Medical Leave Act

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By: Eric Katechis

 

Living in New York at times can be challenging-and when bringing home a newborn, reading the fine print in your HR handbook is a must! NY recently made strides with their Family and Medical Leave Act. Major changes now available for both parents include 12 weeks of leave. I would like to share with you, as a dad how much this affects me.

My daughter was born premature by two months. Obviously this left her susceptible to viruses and airborne bacteria more than your average baby. At the time I had just started a job at Mount Sinai and my wife had started a job at a non-profit. This led to much guilt on our parts due to the fact we then had to leave our newborn in the hands of our family. While our family is wonderful, we felt we had a special brand of love we wanted her to know, she being our first child!

We spent many a day calling and texting each other to make sure one of us had checked on our child. The guilt was overwhelming. Should we check every two hours? The baby’s head is a little warm; should we have grandma take her to the hospital- and if so, could one of us get out of work? And when we do, will we then be penalized for doing so?

So now a little less pressure during an already amounting time, the Family Paid Leave act has just been passed, and by 2021 mothers and fathers alike will have 12 weeks paid leave at 50% of their pay rate. It’s a gradual raise, with New York being one of few first states to jump. Had I and my wife been at our respective companies for at least 6 months, we could have been able to build an even stronger bond with our child. My wife would not have felt as much guilt for being a working mother when many of her friends were at home caring for their infants. She felt she was doing something wrong.

 

Myself as a father I felt I had failed for not having a job that would be flexible enough to help my wife and child- or that paid enough to have my wife stay at home with the baby. New York lawmakers have made a state very happy with this law as well as the newly announced Minimum Wage Act. These changes will bring a much needed modern sensibility to a city that, by all accounts should be at the forefront of these things.

For more details on the changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act visit here.

 

 

 

313915_10152359395445158_1023529087_n-300x300Eric Katechis is your typical closet Geek. Currently a newly minted Dad of a 3 year old little girl. He balances going to events like Greek dancing lessons, play places with his wife and daughter and local community openings in the Bronx. His social media influence caught the attention of TMZ and he is actively a role on all social media outlets, in addition his need to catch up with the latest comics and anime’s that have been released has him sharing this with his family! Always FIRST in line for a new Marvel movie!! Currently salivating at the chance to have his daughter adopt his geek hobbies, he’s just looking for the right opportunity to do so.

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