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It will be blankies and binkies instead of appointments and allocations for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who, following the birth of his fourth child earlier this week, will become the first leader of the United Kingdom ever to take paternity leave. Cameron, 43, and his wife, Samantha, 39, welcomed daughter Florence Rose Endellion August 24 , about three weeks earlier than expected. Under a 2003 British law, new fathers are eligible for two weeks paid paternity leave, even if they happen to be the prime minister, and Cameron’s government has announced that he will indeed be taking some time off to be with his new daughter.
Would our president do the same? Legally, most federal employees, male or female, can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after a baby’s birth under the Family and Medical Leave Act , in addition to vacation time and sick leave they may have accrued. President Obama has never, as far as I know, declared whether he would take paternity leave if he and Michelle have another baby. But he has left clues: In 2001, after his daughter Sasha, then three months old, came down with meningitis, Obama, then a member of the Illinois state senate, spent three days on and off at her hospital bedside. He said later, "I wasn't interested in anything or anyone outside the four walls of that room -- not my work, not my schedule, not my future."
One catch, however. The president is not covered by FMLA regulations, according to the federal Office of Personnel Management. Still, the president's attitude during Sasha's health crisis makes me think he would want to savor a baby's first few precious weeks of life, whether he was getting paid for it or not. I bet he'd take paternity leave.
Do you think a U.S. president would take paternity leave? Chime in below!
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