Check out Time Off for Dad, an article by Susan Gaidos about paternity leave for postdocs and faculty.
Universities should recognize the importance of family and provide formal policies on paternity leave. However, what was not emphasized in the article is that for postdocs having a supportive advisor is crucial.
When I interviewed for postdoctoral fellowships, I tried to gauge how supportive prospective advisors would be toward paternity leave. Without a supportive advisor, university policies have limited benefit.
I was fortunate to find Marnie Halpern, a supportive and family-friendly advisor, for my postdoc. This support began when my children were born and extended throughout my postdoctoral fellowship. Right before Hannah was born, Marnie and the lab threw us a surprise baby shower (at Mary Goll‘s apartment). When my children’s day care center was closed, Marnie’s teen-age daughter would sometimes babysit so that I could go to lab and continue a multi-day experiment. When a child’s sudden illness required me to leave the lab unexpectedly, Marnie never disapproved (especially helpful because my wife was the primary breadwinner and could not afford to miss work). Children were always welcome at Halpern lab parties. Just the other day, my 3 year old son Simon asked about Marnie’s dog Jordan and wanted to know whether we could visit.
When your kids have fond memories of your postdoc advisor, that’s family friendly.