These days new dads say they want to be involved in their kids lives and expect employers to offer them paid leave after having a baby, according to a new study of 30 corporations and more than 1,000 fathers by the Boston College Center for Work & Family (BCCWF).
Though we fathers are increasingly playing a significant role in caregiving for our children, society and organizations largely still retain the view of father as breadwinner.
Though they offer it to new moms, many companies do not have paid paternity leave.
“Most fathers in our survey felt that between two to four weeks of paid paternity leave is an appropriate amount, considering both work and family obligations,” said Brad Harrington, author of the study. “Organizations that want to retain their best talent must acknowledge that fathers are playing a more active role in their families, and consider paternity leave as an essential benefit.”
Ernst & Young LLP, the sponsor of the Boston College study, is an example of a business that offers — and benefits from — paid paternity leave. Ernst & Young LLP provides its dads up to 6 weeks of fully-paid paternity leave. And such a policy helps them retain employees.
“Between 500 and 600 plus men at our firm take paid parental leaves each year — which is roughly consistent with the number of women who take paid parental leaves annually,” said Karyn Twaronite, partner of Ernst & Young LLP and the EY Americas Inclusiveness Officer. “The business case for benefits like paid paternity leave is clear to us.”
- Paid paternity leave is important to fathers when considering an employer: 89% rated paternity leave as important (with 60% rating it very/extremely important).
- The average amount of time taken by fathers in the survey was approximately 2 weeks, with 6% of men taking no time at all, 12% taking less than 1 week, 24% taking 1 week, 39% taking 2 weeks, 6% taking 3 weeks, 4% taking 4 weeks, 1% taking 5 weeks and 8% taking 6 weeks or more.
- The amount of leave taken was a combination of paternity leave (54%), parental leave (13%), vacation/PTO (51%), holiday time (6%), and sick time or personal absence days (combined 4%).
- The more children fathers had, the lower the number of weeks they took off.
- Most (86%) fathers in the U.S. said that they would only take time off if they were paid at least 70% of their salary and 45% indicated they would require full salary to take their full leave.
- Of the fathers who did not have access to paid paternity leave, 91% indicated they would have taken more time with their families if paid leave was available.
- Fathers were highly involved in hands-on caregiving and household tasks during their paternity leaves. More than 90% reported that they spent time caring for their new child and changing diapers, and more than 80% went food shopping, cleaned the house and prepared meals.
- Of note, 76% of fathers would prefer the option of not taking all of their time off immediately following the birth of their children, but would rather have some flexibility in when and how they used their paid paternity leave time.
- Nearly all fathers (95%) rated workplace flexibility as important to their ongoing ability to balance work and family needs (79% reported that flexibility is very or extremely important to them).
- A full 99% of men in the study feel that employers should offer paid paternity leave, with 74% of respondents suggesting that 2 to 4 weeks is an appropriate amount.