Dad sparks debate over paid parental leave in US after filming emotional return to work

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A father has sparked a debate over paid paternity leave in the US as he documents his emotional return to work after the birth of his child.

On TikTok, Matthew, @gbandme, first became popular when he shared videos of his grandmother, who passed away last January. While he continued to share memories of his grandmother on social media, Matthew also began documenting his life as a first-time parent, alongside his wife, Morgan.

In a clip shared in April, Matthew filmed Morgan holding their daughter, before acknowledging he had reached the end of his paternity leave.

“Back to work. I love you,” he told his wife, who said “goodbye” to him as she looked at her child.

He then zoomed in on his child’s face and said, “I love you, little piece.”

Matthew then pointed the camera at Morgan, who started crying and told him not to “make her cry”.

“I love you, mom,” he told his wife, as she continued to cry. “Everything will be alright.”

As Morgan wiped the tears from his face, Matthew chuckled and said, “I love you, I’ll be back.”

The clip then ended with Matthew sitting in his car as he stared to the side and appeared to have tears in his eyes. He also noted how hard it was for him to return to work in the caption, where he wrote, “Well that was hard…”

As of June 27, the clip has more than 2.1 million views, with TikTok users in the comments applauding parents and acknowledging how difficult it is to return to work when paternal leave ends.

“I remember the day my husband went back to work. Send her encouraging messages throughout the day and call her often,” one viewer said.

“I’m not crying! Oh how sweet. I felt the same with my husband,” wrote another.

A third person added: ‘I went but as a single mum having to leave the baby with a carer. Cried all day.

Others then blamed the United States for not giving enough paid time off to new parents after welcoming a child.

“Aww I remember how that feels,” one person wrote. “I wish we had better laws so parents can bond with their new babies. The paternity/maternity leave here is a joke.

“FTM and I have a three month old. America has let parents down by not giving them paid parental leave. I feel you got this!” another wrote.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “The Federal Employees Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) makes paid parental leave available to federal employees.” Under FEPLA, parents are entitled to a maximum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave during a “12 month period following the birth or fostering” of a child.

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