200 Business Professors for Paid Family Leave

I/m not alone in supporting paid family leave. Here's why
I’m not alone in supporting paid family leave. Join us.

200 business professors support paid family leave and have petitioned Congress. Here’s why.

Business school professors are situated at a very interesting crossroads.

On one hand, we are very well connected to the business community. Most of us interact with executives and managers on an ongoing basis. We keep up with industry best practices. Many consult with leading firms. We write for practitioner outlets and trade magazines. We provide executive training and education to those near the top of organizational charts, as well as MBA classes to those on the first few rungs of the ladder. In many ways, and through many means, we are very plugged into the concerns of the business community.

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Netflix and Paternity Leave- A Golden Age? Not Quite Yet.

Have companies like Netflix ushered in a Golden Age of Paternity Leave? Not quite yet.
Netflix and paternity leave! Have companies ushered in a Golden Age of Paternity Leave? Not quite yet.

We seem to be living in a sudden Golden Age of Paternity Leave.

In the past two months, I’ve seen glowing news reports of major, influential companies such as Virgin Atlantic, IBM, Ernst & Young, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, T-Mobile, Facebook, Bank of America, and Microsoft adopting or significantly expanding their paternity leave policies. The latest and greatest announcement is of Netflix and paternity leave- both new moms and new dads can take up to a year of unlimited paid parental leave. That’s practically Swedish of them.

I am thrilled by this rapid progress, and especially by Netflix’s policy. However, during this exciting sweep of announcements, it is easy to forget that the adoption of paid paternity leave is just a first step in creating societal awareness of the importance of involved fatherhood, and the need for corporate cultures to assist men in their work-family challenges.

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Respecting the Rhythm of Work and Family

Even when promoting a book, you need to respect the rhythm of work and family
Even when promoting a book, you need to respect the rhythm of work and family

One thing I have learned about balancing work and family is that you need to take the long view. Work can take precedent sometimes. Other weeks, family can come to the fore. And it’s ok if you are temporarily out of balance. We need to respect the rhythm of work and family.

In the business world, we call this the difference between Episodic Overwork and Chronic Overwork. It’s ok, and probably necessary for career advancement, to have some weeks in which you burn the midnight oil. Accountants during tax season. Lawyers in the home stretch of a big case. A big client deadline. Passing a certification exam. Promoting a book. Even in nature, high tides and occasional forest fires are good things.

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Female CEOs Support Paternity Leave

Female CEOs voiced their support for paternity leave
Female CEOs voiced their support for paternity leave

As if we needed another reason why we need more women in leadership!

Last week, I wrote about a Miami Herald CEO Roundtable in which they asked various male and female CEOs about paternity leave. Did they feel it was important? Do they offer it?

The responses of the male CEOs was decidedly mixed. Ranging from the depressing:

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Male CEOs Are Split on the Importance of Paternity Leave

miamiThe Miami Herald asked a panel of CEOs about paternity leave. Some male CEOs supported it, but others seem stuck in the Dark Ages.

Fact: Paternity leave benefits dads, kids, moms and families, and even improves the bottom line.

Fact: One becomes CEO after either founding a company and, through insanely hard work, making it thrive, OR by putting in intense hours at work for a few decades.

Fact: Most male CEOs today have at-home wives, and have not had to directly confront the same types of work-family challenges that most of their workforce faces.

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Real Men Take Paternity Leave

Being there for the first several weeks was so important for my family
My being there for the first several weeks was so important for my family

When I am interviewed about paternity leave, my book, and other “working dad” issues, I always get the question about why, even in companies that provide paid paternity leave, many dads don’t feel they can actually take an extended leave without significant career consequences. My typical answer goes something like this:

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The Pros and Cons of Working the “Third Shift”

I often work a Third Shift on the laptop after Nick's asleep
I often work a Third Shift on the laptop after Nick’s asleep

More and more employees are working a metaphorical Third Shift. They put in their day at work, come home to spend time as an active parent, and then, after the kids go to sleep, they log in to work and put in a few more hours.

Third Shifting allows more time for family, but we need to be careful as it can perpetuate the notion that we must always be available to work.

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Watch This Great Webinar on Working Dads, Paternity Leave and Workplace Flexibility

On Friday, April 24th, I had the pleasure of participating in a fun and informative webinar, “The Modern Dad’s Juggle.”  Dina Bakst and Phoebe Taubman from A Better Balance, a legal advocacy organization promoting family-supportive workplace and social policy, Matt Schneider, the co-founder of the awesome City Dads Group, and I discussed an array of topics regarding … Read more

Why Amazon Family Matters

amfam
Click to join 11,000+ in signing the Change.org petition

For the past few weeks, many in the dad blogging community have united around the cause to get Amazon.com to change the name of their parent-centric shopping site from “Amazon Mom” to “Amazon Family.”

To many, verbiage like “Amazon Mom” seems like a small concern. In the grand scheme of things, I guess it is. However, to me, these words are an indicator of how our society often undervalues fathers and, by implication, places an unfair burden on mothers. After all, if only “moms” are full “parents,” so much of the burden shifts to them. Many others have written about the societal implications of such messaging for both moms and dads, so today, I’d like to focus on how this notion that parenting is woman’s work insidiously makes its way into corporate culture- to the detriment of working dads, working moms, kids and employers themselves.

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6 Ways Life Is Better When You Work an Alternate Schedule

Because I can work from here at night, I have time during the day to do the rest.
Because I can work from here at night, I have time during the day to do the rest.

I am an advocate for more flexible work arrangements in which people have more control over where and when they accomplish their work. These arrangements benefit employers through reduced turnover and absenteeism, as well as higher employee engagement and productivity. They benefit employees by allowing better work/family balance, as well as lowered stress and higher work and family satisfaction.

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My Paternity Leave Message for the Dad 2.0 Summit

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.

sanfrandove2

Paternity Leave is good for:

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Welcome HBR Blog Readers- “Less Rigid Forms of Flexibility”

“The most important need for many employees is not to get away from work (through long leaves or part-time work), but to find satisfying ways to combine work and family life… These forms of everyday work flexibility are much more important than the more publicized forms of workplace flexibility such as mommy tracks or daddy … Read more

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