This One Is For You, Working Dads!
Attention, Working Dads!
We’ve been talking about gender equality in the workplace for decades, only this time the situation is reversed. In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s blog is for all you working dads out there. So, “let’s give ‘em something to talk about” (thanks Bonnie Raitt!) – and no, we aren’t talking about love (c’mon people, this is an HR blog) – we’re talking about paternity leave!
As traditional household roles are being blurred and more women are assuming the role of breadwinner – a growing number of men are stepping up to the role of Mr. Mom.
While researching this topic, we came across the 10 US Companies with the Best Paternity Leave Benefits. Raise of hands (we promise not to look!) – who’s surprised that companies like Google and Facebook are leading the way with this trending employee benefit? No one? Ok, just checking.
But seriously, more and more men want to receive time off – paid or unpaid – to spend time with their growing families. In fact, a recent study shows that 89% of all fathers took some time off after their baby’s birth, but almost two-thirds of them took one week or less! Why? Well, many men experience lower pay, lower bonuses, and are passed over for promotions after taking time off for family commitments. Now – who thinks that’s fair?
Historically, the idea behind maternity leave was (and still remains) a way to allow new mothers time to recover from childbirth and to care for their newborn. However, advocates for paternity leave would say that this leave is just as much about forming a bond with the newborn as it is about the mother’s recovery.
As the workforce landscape continues to evolve and employees focus more on finding the illusive work-life balance, it is important to recognize that the role of father is equally as important as the role of mother, and the option of paid or unpaid paternity leave – no matter how long – is a growing and attractive employee benefit that won’t be going away any time soon.
Bear with me a moment and consider a couple of scenarios:
1. You’ve found your perfect new hire. He’s a go-getter – ready to set the world on fire – fits in perfectly with your company culture, scored off the charts with pre-employment personality testing. In your head you’ve already promoted him. But when you offer him the position, he declines. WHY?! Well, another organization he interviewed with also offers paternity leave in addition to regular PTO and he’s hoping to grow his family in the near future.
2. A current high-performing employee (who you also have put on the fast track – in your head) suddenly and out of the blue resigns. WHY?! You offer comprehensive benefits, you are supportive of a flexible work schedule, he has been promoted and has received a significant raise – all in all, you think you’re a pretty cool boss. When you ask him his reason for leaving – he says this other company offers paternity leave and he is concerned about taking care of his newborn and wife when they come home from the hospital.
Bottom line is that while not all employers can (or want to) offer paternity leave (or maternity leave for that matter), there is a growing pool of research suggesting paid leave doesn't hurt your company’s performance. In fact, it can even improve your employee engagement and retention. And the implications of paid paternity leave aren't just good for business—they're good for family health and child development, too.
Do you offer paternity leave? How has it affected the working dads at your company?