Calling All New Dads: You Take Parenting Seriously, and So Should Your Company

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For new dads, Father’s Day doesn't consist of cracking open a cold one with junior back from college. Instead, it's a less laidback affair involving tending to the newest 'mini me's' every waking need – but how can a new dad be there for his newest addition if his company doesn't offer any paternity leave? Child rearing is mankind’s greatest passion – and challenge – but the country’s paid family leave policies fall well short of what new parents deserve.

According to a report from the Society of Human Resource Management, about 58% of women – but only 15% of men – get replacement pay for leave after having a baby. Not surprisingly, based on research by Promundo and Dove Men+Care, 69% of fathers say they would be willing to change jobs to be involved in the early weeks or months of caring for their child.

The Goals of Family Leave

On a surface level, paid family leave allows employees to come back to work refreshed and reengaged. Beyond this, there are empirical business advantages of adopting paternity leave. After California instituted a paid family leave insurance program, the vast majority of employers agreed that such policies had positive or negligible effects on employees in regards to: productivity (89%), profitability/performance (91%), turnover (96%), and employee morale (99%).

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t just that more organizations need to adopt paid family leave policies aimed at dudes. According to another study, even in organizations that provide some form of paternity leave, 73% of dads agree there wasn’t much workplace support, and 21% feared losing their job if they took the full amount of paternity leave offered. And this doesn’t account for men who have been demoted or lost job opportunities for taking the option.

So, it’s not enough for businesses to have the policies in place – they must encourage new fathers to use them.

Maternity Leave Vs. Paternity Leave

In promoting paternity leave, workplaces also become more desirable to women. When employers only offers maternity leave, they are promoting traditional gender roles in which men keep working while women are pushed into being caregivers. A family paid leave policy for both genders not only downplays sexist stereotypes in the workplace, it also provides men and women the same opportunities to care for their new children while remaining focused on their careers.

Take it from Ceree Eberly, Chief People Officer at Coca-Cola: “We think the most successful way to structure benefits to help working families is to make them gender-neutral and encourage both moms and dads to play an active role in their family lives.”

Paternity leave is one of many benefits that employees will increasingly expect as organizations find ways to increase retention and strike the perfect work/life culture.

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