Seventy-six percent of U.S. fathers take less than a week of paternity leave after adding a new baby to their families. That’s despite the fact that 45 percent of U.S. companies offer some form of paid paternity leave.
While this may seem like a benefit to employers — of course you want your employees to be working insted of taking extended leave — there are some downsides to men not taking paternity leave. Example? Men often don’t take paternity leave because they fear it will hurt their careers, reinforcing harmful workplace stereotypes and impacting company culture. As Thekla Morgenroth, a research fellow in social and organisational psychology at the University of Exeter, told the BBC, “Men who do take parental leave can face backlash and be seen as weak, lacking work commitment.”
Of course, when men don’t take paternity leave, it also hurts women. According to Nobel Laureate Claudia Goldman, children are one of the biggest drivers in the pay gap between men and women. Women who choose to have children earn less, primarily because they value temporal flexibility over high pay. It’s a choice, of course. We all make choices. But lots of arguments in favor of men taking paternity leave lean on the idea that it would support women and make for more balanced households.
However, having two people not working for 12 weeks is hardly a viable financial option for most households. And the solution isn’t government-provided paid leave, as is offered in Japan and Sweden. Men still take less leave than women.
You want great paternity leave available to men for the same reason you want great maternity leave available to women — because it’s a great benefit that attracts good employees. But the benefit is only valuable if it’s attractive.
Fortunately, there’s a straightforward way to make paternity leave — and maternity leave — more attractive to your employees, and less of a burden on your business: intermittent FMLA.
To keep reading, click here: How to Fix the Paternity Leave Problem