173 distressingly this provision actually serves to

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173 Distressingly, this provision actually serves to limit parents' access to leave, as it states that spouses employed by the same employer may be limited to an aggregate of twelve weeks of family leave, meaning each parent's individual entitlement to leave could be split in half. 174 Instead, a system like Iceland's would grant a desirable balance between a gender-neutral law and a gendered law that unfairly discriminates against one gender, while recognizing the roles of both parents as partners in the childbirth process. 175 Allowing parents to allocate a period of leave between themselves would uphold a sense of autonomy in permitting families to determine the allocation of leave that works best for their individual situation. 1 76 It is the combination of ''use-it-or-lose-it" leave for each parent in conjunction with the gender-neutral personal allocation period of leave that makes the Iceland Act especially attractive as something that could be adapted in the United States. 177 These provisions encourage 172. See Iceland Act, supra note 95, § IV, art. 8 (providing parents with an additional three months leave to divide up if and as they see fit). 173. See 29 U.S.C. § 2612(f)(1) (detailing leave requirements for spouses employed by same employer). 174. Id. 175. But see Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men (No. 10/2008) (Ice.), § IV, art. 24 (stating that "[s]pecial consideration to women in connection with pregnancy and childbirth shall not be regarded as discrimination" in Iceland, which suggests that Icelandic laws regarding gender discrimination would not be offended by disparate impact if the shared months were more frequently taken by women than by men). 176. See Jonsdottir, supra note 98, at 16-17 (suggesting that Icelandic parents are allocating family leave in the manner most advantageous for their particular family's economic situation because, although women typically take the full length of the shared leave, men who take the shared leave tend to have incomes considerably higher than average). 177. But see Gunn, supra note 10 (suggesting that an evenly split "6-6 policy" is advantageous because any shared time between parents is likely to have the effect of continued uneven distribution of parental duties, as women are more likely to take the shared leave and thereby develop superior parenting skills). [Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMIL Y BALANCE both men and women to take leave and engage in work-family balance, while recognizing that within each individual family, it may be most reasonable for either the mother or the father to take a longer period of leave. 17 8 In practice, removing the gender-neutral language of FMLA as recommended would not actually change the rights granted by the current law. 179 Currently, women may take twelve weeks of leave and men may take twelve weeks of leave to care for a new child.
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