Fathers across America have something to celebrate. More and more companies are granting men parental leave to take care of their newborn (and newly adopted) children.
In the U.S., men have traditionally been excluded from the parental leave benefits many women enjoy. And paid paternity leave has been even more rare.
That’s changing. Consider these companies who now provide dads and moms the same amount of paid leave to care for a new baby:
- Ernst & Young: 16 weeks
- Twitter: 20 weeks
- Etsy: 26 weeks
- PricewaterhouseCoopers: 6 weeks
- Bank of America: 16 weeks
Parental leave for fathers has several important benefits:
- First, it gives fathers an equal chance to bond with their newborn children. And some research indicates that children with more involved fathers do better on such things as cognitive tests.
- Second, it helps fathers achieve a better work-life balance. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly half of men surveyed said that their duties at work were causing conflict at home.
- Third, it can help a family’s finances. When fathers can take leave, mothers can return to paid work earlier and more easily, reducing interruptions to their careers. Millennial couples are especially interested in paid paternal leave, as they both want to maintain their careers while raising their children, and many cannot afford to have only one parent working.
But as beneficial as it is, paid paternity leave is still far from common. Many companies don’t provide parental leave at all, paid or unpaid, for fathers or mothers. Lower paying jobs, including those in the restaurant, retail and other service industries, seldom come with paid parental leave in the U.S. Just three states — California, Rhode Island and New Jersey — guarantee parental leave for both sexes.
In many other developed nations, paid parental leave for men and women is not only common, it’s required. Evidently, some of the larger companies in this country are getting the message that both sexes need time off to welcome their little ones into the world.