Fox News host Gregg Jarrett ridiculed New York Mets player Daniel Murphy for taking paternity leave for the birth of his son. Jarrett said Murphy “is rich. He could have like twenty nannies taking care of his tired wife, and he's got to take off two days? It's absurd. It's preposterous.”
Jarrett's remark came after controversy over similar criticism by New York radio broadcasters Boomer Esiason and Mike Francesa. Esiason, a former professional quarterback, said he would have told his wife to have a C-section so he wouldn't miss any games, while Francesa said, “You see the birth and you get back ... Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days.” Esiason later apologized for his “flippant and insensitive remark.” Francesa is reportedly standing by his remarks.
Paternity leave is a common practice in baseball. Fairleigh Dickinson University professor Scott Behson wrote in The Wall Street Journal that “almost 100 baseball players, including three other players this season, have taken paternity leave since MLB enacted the policy in 2011, according to Paul Mifsud, Senior Counsel for Labor Relations for Major League Baseball. None have received the public criticism Murphy had to endure.” Teams are not short a player during paternity leave, as they are allowed to replace that player for up to three days (Mets minor league infielder Wilmer Flores, for instance, substituted for Murphy).
Major League Baseball, however, is an outlier when it comes to providing paid paternity leave in the United States. The United States does not guarantee paid maternity or paternity leave, and just “three states, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, offer paid family and medical leave.”
An Institute for Women's Policy Research report noted that a 2012 Department of Labor study found paid paternity leave is “available to all or most employees in 20 percent of workplaces.” The report noted that the “length of leave taken for parental reasons varies considerably between women and men. Seven of ten men took leave of ten days or less, compared to a quarter (23 percent) of women; six percent of men took leave of 60 days or more, compared to 38 percent of women.” Women are also “more than twice as likely as men to have received paid leave for parental reasons.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that a “growing body of research shows that longer paternity leaves carry long-term benefits” :
A 2007 study from researchers at Columbia University found that fathers who take longer leaves are more involved in child care months after returning to work. And a paper by a Cornell University graduate student Ankita Patnaik earlier this year examined leave-policy reforms in Quebec and found that more generous and equitable parental-leave policies led to a greater likelihood that mothers will return to their employers after maternity leave.
The Atlantic's Liza Mundy, in her own survey of existing research, wrote that paternity leave “makes men more involved at home, women more involved at work, and workplaces friendlier for all parents.”
Listen to Jarrett's remarks on the April 4 edition of Fox News Radio's Kilmeade & Friends:
JARRETT: When my two daughters were born, I was there for both of them.
BRIAN KILMEADE (HOST): How many days?
JARRETT: I took off that day. Went back to work the next day.
JARRETT: This guy is rich. He could have like twenty nannies taking care of his tired wife, and he's got to take off two days? It's absurd. It's preposterous.