84 see id at 490 womens homemaking role allows men to

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84. See id. at 490. ("Women's homemaking role allows men to fulfill their employment responsibilities[.]"). 85. See id. at 490-91 (noting that "the gender-neutral character of the FMLA serves to mask" continued imposition of traditional social structures on women which facilitates attainment of increased public individuality for men). [Vol. 37:1
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ENCOURAGING WORK-FAMILY BALANCE The failure of men to take paternity leave in part may be attributed to some men's unawareness that they are eligible to take leave when a child is born. 8 6 One study found that 91% of eligible women were aware of their rights under FMLA, while only 72% of eligible men were aware that they were eligible for family leave under FMLA. 8 7 Changing the language of FMLA to clarify that men and women are both eligible to take family leave may serve to raise men's awareness and encourage them to take paternity leave with greater frequency."" Finally, the gender-neutral language of FMLA not only symbolically, but also practically, fails to recognize and provide support for women's and men's divergent needs related to pregnancy and childbirth. 8 9 In addition to its failures to provide for women who cannot afford to take unpaid leave, FMLA does not adequately provide for women's ongoing needs upon their return to work, such as the need for accommodations for breastfeeding. 90 In sum, FMLA has failed working parents-and especially working mothers-in an abundance of ways. Some of the persistent failures are more obvious, such as the failure to 86. See Chardie L. Baird & John R. Reynolds, Employee Awareness of Family Leave Benefits: The Effects of Family, Work, and Gender, 45 SOC. Q. 325, 343 (2004) ("Due to workplace norms or normative beliefs about gender, men may simply see themselves as ineligible for family leave regardless of federal mandates."). 87. Id. at 325. 88. See Chuck Halverson, From Here to Paternity: Why Men Are Not Taking Paternity Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 18 Wis. WOMEN'S L.J. 257, 270 (2003) (noting one possible way to encourage men to take FMLA leave is to amend the FMLA purpose statement). 89. See Anthony, supra note 13, at 481 (noting how the FMLA's gender-neutrality not only fails to take into account men and women's divergent biological and innate situations, but also fails to consider social norms that burden women more than men in regards to private family life). 90. See id. at 480 (noting that "[o]ccupational standards often fail to take account of familial ties and care giving responsibilities"); see also Maryn Oyoung, Until Men Bear Children, Women Must Not Bear the Costs of Reproductive Capacity: Accommodating Pregnancy in the Workplace to Achieve Equal Employment Opportunities, 44 McGEORGE L. REV. 515, 529 (2013) (identifying breastfeeding as an example of an activity that, if given reasonable accommodations to perform, would help not to force a woman to "choose between maintaining her health, or her child's, and obtaining equal employment opportunities").
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  • Fall '17
  • David Capco
  • Biology, FMLA, ........., Leave, parental leave

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