June 17, 2016
While many entrepreneurs boast “hustle” as the only way to get ahead in life, an even balance can go a long way in creating a successful startup. And if you are looking to start a family, it’s important to understand how much time you can spend in the living room and how much time you need to spend in the office. Fortunately, many tech companies are offering paternity leave for new fathers to make sure family comes first, despite the United States being the only developed country without a federal parental leave plan in place. Unfortunately, dads don’t seem to be taking advantage of this convenient perk as much as they should.
According to a recent Deloitte survey, the existence of parental leave is not enough to make employees feel comfortable putting family first. The data showed that 54 percent of workers believe that taking paternity leave would be perceived as a lack of commitment to the job. In addition to that, 41 percent of workers believed that taking advantage of this perk would result in a lack of involvement on future projects, subsequently jeopardizing their careers.
“Parental leave is about much more than recovering from a medical event. It’s about bonding with a new child – and that goes for fathers as well as mothers,” said Deepa Purushothaman, principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP and national managing principal of Deloitte’s Women’s Initiative. “Many employees, male and female, are coming to expect the flexibility to support caregiving and family needs, and employers can help by ensuring their people are not stuck deciding between their job and family.”
The funny thing is that men actually experience career boosts after having a child. Further research has shown that men often enjoy the “fatherhood bonus,” raking in 6 percent higher incomes for each child they have. Not only do fathers enjoy higher salaries but they are even hired more often than single men. Apparently, fatherhood cultivates an air of responsibility that facilitates further success in the workplace, while motherhood makes employers think the woman in question will be “distracted.”
It’s hard to deny the double standard so inherent in this discussion of parental leave. Men are scared to take time off, while actually making more money, while women need the time off and make less money because of it. The cognitive dissonance is enough to make steam shoot out of your ears. And unfortunately, just pushing “equality” is far too vague to actually get anything done.
If we want to truly nip this equality problem in the bud, a federal plan for maternity and paternity leave needs to be put in place. Employees and employers need to understand that cultivating a bonded family is more important than your TPS reports. And if you don’t believe me, ask your dad on Father’s Day whether or not he’d rather spend his Sunday afternoon in the office or hanging out with you.
Photo: Flickr / Valentina Yachichurova
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