Recently, well-meaning, gender-neutral parental leave policies have been under attack by activists suggesting that they make a flawed assumption that families have only one primary caregiver. (Photo: Shutterstock)

For the longest time, many employers differentiated between “maternity” and “paternity” leave in their policy manuals. A typical maternity leave would offer six to 12 weeks of salary replacement for new mothers while offering only one to two weeks of salary replacement for new fathers. Over time, society began catching up with reality, and now most employers acknowledge that traditional definitions of gender and family no longer apply. As a result, antiquated policies have been modified to offer paid “parental” leave.

Many parental leave policies differentiate between “primary” caregivers and “non-primary” caregivers, as opposed to mothers and fathers. Such policies typically offer six to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who certify that they are primary caregivers and a less significant benefit for new parents who do not certify that they are primary caregivers. These changes are well-intended, as they do away with stereotypes regarding gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.

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