Dove is offering $5K grants to dads without paid parental leave

In a new ranking by WalletHub, Georgia is the 10th worst state for raising a family. The state's worst score was in the "education and child care" category. Georgia ranked No. 46. Georgia's best score was in the "family fun" category, where it ranked No. 22. "Health and safety" was also a bad category for the state. Georgia ranked No. 44. Georgia ranked No. 35 in affordability. When it came to "socio-economics," though, the state came in at No. 42.

In an effort to make paid paternity leave "the new standard," Dove will be offering $5,000 grants to dads without access to such policies.

» RELATED: Georgia named one of America's worst states for working dads in new ranking

The grants are part of Dove's Paternity Leave Fund aimed at raising more than $1 million in two years to "show how paternity leave benefits families, workplaces, and communities."

To apply for the grant, working men and fathers are required to sign Dove's pledge for paternity leave. Applicants also have to state how the grant would personally benefit them and their families and what they believe society overlooks about fatherhood. The contest began this month and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020. You can find official rules at dmcpaternityleave.dja.com.

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According to Dove, "less than 1 in 5 men in the U.S. are offered any paid paternity leave." In fact, more than 41 million American workers are unable to take a paid sick day to care for a sick child, and only 12 percent have access to paid leave, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

In an interview with personal finance site WalletHub, Vicki Shabo, vice president at the National Partnership for Women and Families, called out the nation's workplace policies for increasing work and family conflicts for dads. The lack of workplace support, Shabo said, "perpetuates inequities in caregiving responsibilities among opposite-sex couples."

» RELATED: Dads are happier than moms, new research shows

Georgia laws do not require maternity leave pay, and neither moms nor dads have extensive rights in the state. While moms may have the option to purchase short-term disability policies prior to conception, a way many women earn maternity leave pay, dads cannot file a short-term disability claim for parental leave.

At least 180 countries in the world have laws guaranteeing some form of paid maternity leave and only nine are without — six Pacific island nations, Papua New Guinea, Surinam and the United States. In the U.S., only a handful of states—California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island—now offer paid leave funded through payroll taxes. Washington passed its own law, but its legislation was never implemented, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

» RELATED: How Georgia fares for working moms

In response, some major companies, including Starbucks and Walmart, have expanded their family leave policies to loop in working fathers.

More about paid leave policies in the U.S. at ncsl.org.

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