5 Reasons You Need an Official Paternity Leave Policy

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Paternity leave legislation is still being worked on, but it has made some headway in recent years in the fight for mandatory maternity leave. Around 80 nations have laws governing paternity leave, however many of these laws appear to be merely symbolic.

If we talk about Pakistan, it only offers a few days (in limited workplaces), whereas other European nations allow two weeks.

Predictably, it’s the Scandinavian countries that set the standard for equality in parenting. 9 out of 10 fathers in Norway receive at least 12 paid weeks of paternity leave. In Sweden, fathers are required to use a minimum of eight weeks of their 32-week paid leave before they may transfer the remainder to their partners.

The United States stands somewhere in the middle. Both mothers and fathers are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave. However, the fact that it is unpaid, along with other societal hurdles, makes it difficult for fathers to utilize it. In fact, 8 out of 10 male employees claimed in research that they would not take paternity leave unless they were paid at least 70% of their salary.

So, is a paternity policy necessary? Its societal advantages are constantly supported by studies, ranging from balancing male-female interactions to improving children’s academic performance. Here are five reasons to adopt an official paternity leave policy if you are evaluating the business case for it.

Work/life conflicts are a reality for men too

The idea that women are the primary caregivers of children is outdated. As men accept a larger share of parenting responsibilities, they encounter the same difficulties as mothers: their work and domestic duties begin to conflict. During the first few months of a baby’s life, fathers’ ability to care for and bond with their newborns can have a significant impact on their productivity. A paternity policy is an effort to help working dads deal with the growing problems they face.

Be a more desirable place to work

Policies about parental leave have often been mentioned as a way to keep people in the workforce. Not only that, but it may also help you find and keep the best employees. In a survey of 1,000 working fathers, nine out of ten said that a company’s paternity leave policy was a very important reason for them to change jobs. If your company is small, you might not be able to pay higher wages as bigger companies can. By making an official paternity leave policy, your company might be able to attract and keep better employees.

Equality cuts both ways

Nowadays, many companies preach about diversity. Diverse teams are beneficial for business, according to a study. Research shows that policies that foster a diverse workforce may make privileged groups feel threatened, hurting their performance and productivity. This is why a business should never have a maternity leave policy that just stands on its own. A paternity leave policy is a necessity if you do not want your male employees to feel left out. It promotes workplace equality.

Encourage more men to take paternity leave

Taking unpaid paternity leave might cause financial hardship. Nine out of ten men return to work in less than two weeks following childbirth. This is when mother and baby need care the most. Part of the reason for this is that dads think of themselves as the breadwinners in their culture. A well-communicated paternity leave policy and process may guarantee employees take leave. It’s Effective! 

Remove the stigma on women

Gender equality in the workplace has come a long way. However, maternity may still have a negative impact on women’s job prospects. Many women who have taken maternity leave have less job security over time. The “motherhood penalty” appears on their wages and they are far less likely to be promoted. (To read more about Stigma for women click here!)

A paternity leave policy can help remove the stigma from women. A study in Sweden showed that for every month the father took paternity leave, the mother’s earnings increased by 7%. A similar finding of research on Quebec’s family leave program supported the importance of the “daddy quota” (leave that can’t be transferred to the mother). Mothers were more likely to be employed full-time. Their earnings also increased by 25% when their partners utilized paternity leave. Helping to close the gender gap and promote equality in the workplace is a significant benefit of paternity policies.

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.

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Nismah Naveed Bhatti
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