The Scandinavian countries have set the standard for equality in parenting and paid paternity leave. In Norway, 9 out of 10 dads take at least 12 weeks of paid paternity leave. Fathers in Sweden receive 90% of their pay while on paternity leave. Sweden encourages fathers to share equal responsibility in raising their children.
The United States stands at the bottom when it comes to paternity leave. Both fathers and mothers can use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for parenting. However, the “unpaid” part makes it difficult for fathers to take the time off. In a recent study, eight out of ten male employees stated they would not use paternity leave unless they were paid at least 70 percent of their wages.
So why is paternity policy really needed? Here are four reasons to get on it:
- Work/life Balance
Fathers share of parenting has increased since the past decades as more women have entered the work force. They face the same difficulties as women: the conflict between job and family duties. It is natural that fathers’ productivity is influenced by their ability to care for and bond with their children — especially in those first months.
- Be a more desirable place to work
In a recent survey of 1,000 working fathers, nine out of ten of them stated they would consider the existence of a paternity leave policy as one of the important reason to choose a new employer. This is extremely important for small businesses that may be unable to offer higher wages other companies do.
- Encourage Paternity Leave
Taking unpaid paternity leave may easily bring financial difficulties to a family. Therefore, it’s not surprising that nine out of ten men are back to work in less than two weeks after the birth of their child. Even though this is when mother and baby begin to really need help. Part of this is down to cultural bias with dads seeing themselves as breadwinners. But an official paternity leave policy and procedure, correctly communicated, can ensure your employees will take the leave.
- Cost Effective
As an employer, you are naturally worried about what such policies will cost. Employees who aren’t working and are still receiving pay may seem a burden to a business; however, in a recent study of almost 250 firms in California showed that the policy of the state mandating paid leave “had minimal impact” on business operations. In addition, 9 out of 10 employers indicated that there was a neutral or positive impact to the profitability of businesses, as well as productivity of employees.
These statistics make a point that parental leave policies don’t just sound good in theory. They make sense on a business level, a fact of which many companies, including your competitors, are becoming increasingly aware.