Serena Williams’ husband Alexis Ohanian has been dedicated to fighting for paid paternity leave for dads across the country since the birth of his daughter, Olympia. The Reddit co-founder told Business Insider that he didn’t realize how valuable paternity leave was until he took off 16 weeks after his daughter’s birth.
“We implemented a policy that I didn’t think I was going to be using anytime soon, but a few years later I found myself using and talking about [it] publicly,” the proud father said.
Thanks to Ohanian, Reddit is one of the few companies that offers paid paternity leave, along with Target and Sweetgreen.
Being on paternity leave allowed Ohanian to care for Williams, who had health issues after having an emergency c-section and then fighting pulmonary embolisms.
“Because Olympia’s birth was such a complicated one and I watched everything that my wife went through and persevered through … I realized that we had so many advantages and yet this was still such a traumatic experience,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine anyone being put in [that situation] without the peace of mind knowing that they had paid leave.”
Ohanian recently visited Congress for a week to meet with lawmakers to discuss paid paternity leave becoming federally mandated. He feels that having paid time off will guarantee that fathers will have time to spend with their families without having to worry about their financial stability.
“All my employees deserve #PaidFamilyLeave and so do all my fellow Americans,” he captioned on Instagram. “Been a very productive couple of days so far here in Washington and I’m actually quite optimistic. Thank you @katyturnbc for your leadership on this issue and shoutout to all my fellow #dadvocates showing that we fathers have an important role to play in our new child’s life.”
“We live in a nation that prides itself on family values and what better way to show what we actually support and these values than by having a program like paid leave for new parents and folks who aren’t already in the best-case scenario,” he told Business Insiders about his Capitol Hill visit.