After his request for the 10 weeks of paternity leave his company, Time Warner offers to mothers and adoptive fathers was rejected, Josh Levs took legal action, changed the outdated policy, and got to keep his job! Hosting shows about real modern fatherhood and related issues, he wrote the 2015 book All In – How Our Work-First Culture Fails Dads, Families, and Businesses-And How We Can Fix It Together.
The story of Josh Levs
Josh Levs has spent years reporting for CNN, where his work as a leader of the “Truth Squad”—separating fact from fiction—earned him the nicknames “Truth Seeker in Chief” and “The Explainer.” A committed parent of three children, Levs became one of the most prominent voices for fathers as CNN.com’s “dad columnist” and “resident dad” on HLN.
One of our previous podcast-guest and author of Overwhelmed, Brigid Schulte writes about Lev’s book: “A must read. All In crushes outdated yet powerful stereotypes and—with fresh voices, insightful research and a passionate call to action—offers a more expansive, more hopeful and ultimately more human vision of what it means to be a good man.”
150 hours worth of interviews
Josh spoke to real dads and what he gathered from the 150 hours worth of interviews is the book All In, which is part testimonial, part campaign material. The book also makes a very strong business case for paid family leave in America. His writing challenges the very rigid gender norms – at the workplace and in the legal framework, and hopes to achieve the culture and mentality shift that is so needed to lift the pressure of working parents – both fathers and mothers, to achieve a better work-life fit.
What is particularly commandable is that the book also breaks a number of taboos, from having a fulfilling sex life when both parents working, to providing a kind of checklist for men, of looking after their body and mind. Overwork, stress and burnout are still very much workplace taboos, and so is men’s mental health.
As Josh explains during our podcast, in the US businesses have not caught up with the idea that a family can take the totally legitimate decision, that fathers would stay at home as much as the mother. The book explores what it takes to make Big Changes, at the workplaces, in policy and also for men themselves on a personal level.
Elections in the US in 2016
We ask Josh about the up-coming elections in the US in 2016, and whether he thinks that there will be finally a statutory, paid family leave for American parents. He explains that there is a definite discourse about this on the Democratic side, however the Republicans haven’t shown any interest in this, in fact one of their candidates, Carly Fiorina, a former business woman actually openly opposes it.
There is however good news, as in 3 out of the 50 States there are proven, working paid family leave schemes (California, Rhode Island and New Jersey). They operate as insurance schemes and have really proven that they do help families and result in savings longer term.
Josh has worked together with the staff at Change.org, one of the world’s leading online petition platforms to launch a petition asking for this. Go check it out and support the movement by signing here: https://www.change.org/p/be-all-in-for-paid-family-leave
We couldn’t agree more with Josh when he sais, that what we really need is to change the culture. The problem is a vicious cycle. Those who have the power in corporations like to stay at work all the time, and they maintain the culture and the mentality and they press these norms on other people. There needs to be a managerial mindset change, to start managing people by results, and not by the number of hours they sit at work.
His latest book, Future Leaders Visit the President, is available from January 2016.