(CNN)Donald Trump’s announcement of a paid maternity leave policy this week–and Ivanka Trump’s refusal to go into details in an interview with Cosmopolitan yesterday — brought the issue into the national political spotlight. It also marks the first time a Republican presidential nominee has addressed the growing public demand for paid family leave policy–even as Trump’s proposal is drawing tough and important questions about what American families really need.
Clearly, Trump’s team read the polls showing that 76% of Americans — Republicans and Democrats — want action for paid family leave
. His proposal, for six weeks of maternity leave, is an intriguing entrant to the debate about how to help ensure that everyone can be there when the people they love need them most. But the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal is behind the times, leaves people out and ultimately fails to provide the relief that American families desperately need.
First, the plan focuses solely on maternity leave, leaving dads and partners of all kinds completely out of the conversation. In today’s America, men take care of new babies, too. Parental leave is not just about recovery from childbirth, it’s about bonding with and caring for a new baby, and studies have shown that fathers who spend more time with their newborn continue to play a stronger caretaking
role throughout that baby’s life.