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Companies are recognizing dads with paid paternity leave

November 21, 2016

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

In the past year many major employers have announced paid paternity leave for men.  At least 17 large employers have introduced or expanded such leave policies for new dads.  While still not the “norm,” the trend is catching on.  

According to a 2015 survey by SHRM, less than 20% of US employers offer paid paternity leave.  Of the companies that do, the time off ranges from 6 weeks to 26 weeks – or if you’re Netflix, as much time as a new parent needs in the first year.  “The rate of expansion is unprecedented,” said Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work.

Millennials place an extreme value on the balance of family and work and as they start having families companies will need to offer paid parental leave as a valuable recruitment and retention tool.  When consulting firm, EY, announced it would offer 16 paid weeks to new dads (up from six) the company stated that it “hopes its men understand EY’s serious commitment to enabling them to become the kind of parents they want to be.”  Companies like this are setting the new standard.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously took two months off when his daughter was born.  He stated, “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.”  Facebook now offers its employees, male and female, four months off after the birth of a baby.

According to a DOL report, research shows that paid leave increases the likelihood that workers will return to work after childbirth, improves employee morale, has no or positive effects on workplace productivity, reduces costs to employers through improved employee retention, and improves family incomes.  Another study cited by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that paid leave for dads helps to foster gender equity, both in the workplace and in the home.  

The US is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not require paid time off for new parents,  but there have been legislative efforts to change that.  Four states – California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and New York – have passed guaranteed paid family leave laws.  In addition cities like New York, Portland, and San Francisco have created paid parental leave policies.  There are ongoing efforts at both the federal and state levels.  Many companies are ahead of the game and are not waiting for policy to dictate their expanded leave for new dads:

  • Amazon: 6 weeks, up from zero
  • Credit Suisse: 20 weeks, up from 12 weeks
  • Ebay: 12 weeks, up from zero
  • EY: 16 weeks, up from six
  • Facebook: 4 months worldwide, up from 4 weeks
  • Fidelity: 6 weeks, up from 2 weeks
  • Hilton: 2 weeks, up from zero
  • Honest Company: 16 weeks, up from 10 weeks
  • Microsoft: 12 weeks, up from 4 weeks
  • Netflix: Unlimited during first year for salaried workers; 12-16 weeks for hourly workers
  • Nvidia: 12 weeks, up from 6 weeks
  • PayPal: 8 weeks, up from zero in all states but California
  • Spotify: 6 months, company didn’t specify previous policy
  • Winston & Strawn LLP: 20 weeks, up from 10 weeks for associates and of counsel attorneys
  • Zillow: 8 weeks, up from zero

With nearly 6 in 10 employees being likely to switch jobs after the birth of a child, according to Bright Horizons 2015 Modern Family Index, it’s important that organizations create policies to attract and retain top talent.  Paid parental leave is one of the most heavily weighted factors that Fatherly, the news site for Millennial dads, considered when compiling its list of the Best Places to Work for New Dads in 2016.  An Ernst and Young survey revealed that 38% of American millennials say they would leave the country for better paid parental leave benefits and 86% stated they would be less likely to quit a job if paid parental leave is offered.

Paid parental leave, both maternity and paternity, helps attract and keep talented workers at a time when talent is often in short supply.   

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