Here's Why Your Organization Needs Paternity Leave
Boxes of sweets, congratulatory messages, gifts, and flowers — these are just a few things you flood new parents with. As the mother recuperates, you congratulate the father and make him a messenger of your good wishes and gifts. However, what fathers really need is your support — something they seldom get.
Support doesn’t mean a mere pat on the shoulder or a day off. Similar to maternity leave, paternity leave is essential for fathers to assume equal caregiving responsibilities for their newborns and partners. While there’s no denying that giving birth to a child is an extremely difficult and tiring process for mothers, fathers need to be around to offer support during pregnancy and post-natal care. For this paternity leave is of utmost importance, so fathers can take care of their family without giving up their careers.
Only 90 out of 187 countries offer any form of paid paternity leave and even that is only for a few days. Here are the top three reasons why paternity leave is important for your organization:
To reduce gender inequality
Only 48% of countries offer paid paternity leave. There are several reasons why dads should take paternity leave, but reducing gender inequality in the workplace is the most important one. It is assumed that child-bearing responsibilities fall on women while fathers are responsible for putting food on the table. However, today fathers want to be equally involved in their children’s lives, which is possible only when they are present around their kids from an early stage. This is why paternity leave is important for your employees.
It’s hard for fathers to focus on work knowing that their partner and child need them. Offering paternity leave gives them a safety net to fall back on during one of the most challenging times of their lives. One of the primary benefits of paternity leave for employers is that it makes your employees feel cared for. An organization that treats its employees with empathy has lower attrition rates.
To alleviate social stigma at work
According to a UNICEF report, two out of three newborns live in countries that don’t offer paid paternity leave. So, let’s talk about the 90 countries that do offer paternity leave. Now that we know why dads should take paternity leave, it’s important to understand how this decision affects their professional lives. Men who apply for paternity leave are either exalted for doing something as ordinary as taking care of their family or derided for ignoring their careers — both contributing to social stigma in the office for working fathers. It is this stigma that prevents them from availing paternity leave, even if organizations offer it.
“What will the father do?” is an oft-asked question when it comes to understanding why dads should take paternity leave. Women taking maternity leave is seen as a natural decision, but when men apply for paternity leave, they are applauded for doing something as basic as taking care of their newborn and a partner who may be suffering from physical exhaustion, anxiety, or post-partum depression. On the other hand, sometimes they are judged for prioritizing their personal lives over their career. Instead of questioning their motives and decisions, employers must strive to create a culture that treats maternity and paternity leave as equally important.
To maintain a work-life balance
Becoming a parent impacts your whole lifestyle. Your priorities and responsibilities change to accommodate your newborn’s needs. It is why paternity leave is important — to set the tone for fatherhood as men help their partners in raising a kid together. It doesn’t make the mother feel alone as she keeps up with the baby's growing demands and wellbeing. It’s important to understand that the biggest paternity leave reason is to support your employees’ families when they need it the most.
The chance to promote a healthy work-life balance is one of the greatest benefits of paternity leave for employers. Absent fathers have a deep psychological impact on the wellbeing of children. With a top-down approach, leaders can encourage men to take paternity leave to spend quality time with their families and forge a strong filial bond without the fear of losing their jobs.
Does your organization offer paternity leave? Tell us in the comments.