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Prince William Paternity Leave: Bold Example Or Just More Royal Privilege?

Prince William is taking paternity leave from the Royal Air Force as a result of the arrival of the new royal baby.

According to multiple British media sources, the prince is simply getting the standard benefits for anyone in his position — two weeks off for which he’ll be paid less than £280. That’s very roughly $450 for the time off.

He doesn’t want and will not get special treatment. A Daily Mail report said that the paternity leave is offered under a law passed in the United Kingdom in 2003, but Prince William is the first member of the royal family to take advantage of it.

Well, that’s nice and all. Some people like Shine writer Elise Solé called it a bold move and said he’s “undoubtedly setting a new precedent for men everywhere.”

Well, maybe. “Men everywhere” is a pretty big claim.

The United States is one of the everywheres that keeps getting targeted because of its poor benefits packages to fathers. Some organizations like Emily’s List (a Democratic fund-raising group) have used the announcement to raise awareness of the lack of progress in gaining paternity leave rights in America.

But it isn’t clear why US law would change because of Prince William’s admittedly sweet example. Nor is it particularly clear why many US men are going to be calling for more time off in a still-recovering job market.

At the end of the day, Prince William is after all a member of the royal family. All he has to do on his job is follow the rules and not screw up too bad. He has nothing at risk at work by taking the paternity leave and much to gain in bonding with his child by doing so. It’s a no-brainer choice…for him.

But when you don’t have those connections, you have other concerns about taking time off from work.

And a big worry is that somebody will find out that the office runs just as smoothly whether you’re there or not. So explain to us again, sir, why we’re cutting you a paycheck?

It’s my opinion that Prince William’s example will change little or nothing for men who don’t enjoy his position. But I could be willing to change my mind if I saw some real evidence, instead of just what looks to me like undignified slobbering on a royal.

What do you think of Prince William’s paternity leave?

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