When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he was taking two months’ paternity leave after the birth of his child in 2015, it was a huge milestone in the conversation not only about parental leave policies, but also about overall gender inequality in the U.S. While we traditionally associate parental benefits with maternity leave, research also indicates that generous paid paternity leave is important both for family health and for workplace gender equality.
“Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post.
The U.S. Department of Labor seems to agree, stating:
“Longer paternity leaves are associated with increased father engagement and bonding [...] dads have more time to bond with a new child, and will be more involved in caring for their children right from the start [...] Families with fathers who take more leave also share chores and childcare more equally between mothers and fathers. One of the more interesting emerging new research findings is that increasing paternity leave may also change longstanding cultural norms about gender, work and household responsibilities [...]This means that increasing how much parental leave fathers take can change the culture in ways that make it more gender-equal.”
Indeed, Zuckerberg’s decision highlighted the fact that when companies support fathers, this benefits not only men, but women, too; paternity leave is crucial in employers’ efforts to support working families. Zuckerberg not only took this benefit for his own family -- he also offers it to his staff: Facebook grants both male and female employees four months of paid leave.
Facebook is not the only company taking note of the importance of paternity leave. In fact, several companies offer even more time. We’ve been taking notes on which employers have recently adapted their parental leave policies to offer more generous benefits to U.S. employees -- and in addition, we offer a free, crowdsourced Parental Leave Resource Center that ranks companies of all sizes’ paternity leave policies by most paid weeks. Check out which companies offer the most paid leave, and please submit an anonymous tip to make this an even better resource!
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