This week, I’ll be at the Dad 2.0 Summit, an annual gathering of bloggers, brands and influencers trying to get the message out to the world about the importance of involved fatherhood, as well as how fatherhood is depicted in the media and supported in society. I’ll be moderating a panel on paternity leave and other workplace supports for fathers, with the goal of arming influencers with the information and motivation they need to spread the word on the importance and benefits of paternity leave. Here’s the message I hope to spread.
Paternity Leave is good for:
- Dads & Kids: Dads who can take PL are more involved in childcare throughout their kids’ lives. Involved fatherhood is associated with increased health, cognitive development, success in school, avoiding legal trouble, and with exposing kids to egalitarian ideas and career paths (especially for girls)
- Moms: Moms aren’t left to do it alone while recovering. Dads with PL more likely to share care and household tasks over time. Moms with husbands who take leave and are involved are less likely to “opt out” of the workplace and damage their careers.
- Employers: Data from California’s program shows that over 88% of employers reported no effect or positive effect of state parental leave policy. Many employers cite better ability to recruit and retain key talent, as well as increase employee engagement and commitment.
But, Paternity Leave is all too rare:
- Fewer than 14% of private employers offer paid PL
- In a survey of white-collar dads, 75% cobbled together a week or less of accumulated time off. 18% took no time off. Many cited the fear of being perceived as unmanly or uncommitted, harming career prospects.
- The situation is almost assuredly worse for hourly employees and blue-collar dads
Some good news:
- 3 States (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) have paid parental leave policies. Use by dads increasing
- The FAMILY Act introduced in Congress would expand this nationwide
- The USA greatly expanded PL for federal employees and will subsidize new state programs
- More private employers are embracing paid PL. More male CEOs speaking out
- 2014 EEOC Guidelines offer hope for expanded access to PL
What can you do?
- Spread the word about the gap between where we are and where we need to be
- Support social policy Get women on board
- Tell stories of dads who took leave and how it changed their families
- Encourage employers (http://some.ly/1hh9qDe)
Dad 2.0 Panel on Paternity Leave: Scott Behson, Carolyn Cowan, Phillip Cowan, Michael Kaufman, Will Neville-Rehbehn
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