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Danny Contreras

For years, people have thought it’s the mother’s job to take care of a new baby. But for me, and for many other men today, it’s important that the father be part of those first milestones. My son was born after a difficult pregnancy; my wife had been in and out of the hospital. She couldn’t watch the kids when she was trying to heal herself. Thanks to paid leave in California, I could be there for them. I needed the time, but I also needed income to pay the mortgage and other bills. I can’t imagine how the family would have managed if I’d had to go back to work right away.

The leave also gave me special time with my stepson, who was going through a rough time. I was able to work closely with him during those weeks. I couldn’t have done it without that leave.