As you have likely gleaned through our discussions this month, parental paid leave is a pretty hefty topic. One component that is often overlooked, however, is paternal paid leave. According to research by Talking Talent, only 30% of men take available paid leave after the birth of a child compared to 52% of women (another low statistic, by the way). Why the difference? It says a lot about workplace culture and the gender gap.
The study in part illuminated this: employee feedback has consistently revealed that many feel pressured not to request leave, even if available to them, for fear of stigma from both management and their peers. Therefore, it’s important for employers to not only provide expanded paid leave but to also train management in fostering a workplace culture that celebrates the health and wellness of its’ employees. And to support those efforts through leading by example. If management doesn’t take care to prioritize their own wellness by taking advantage of leave programs, it’s unlikely for staff to feel comfortable utilizing them.
If you don’t offer paternal paid leave, here’s why you should. For one, it addresses imbalance by promoting gender equity. We know that the gender gap negatively affects productivity and profitability, and in this case it limits the potential for child-bonding for men. This can contribute to stress for fathers to find work/life balance, which we know is a leading factor in the ability to be productive at work.
Another reason is for brand recognition. It’s worthwhile to note that company image plays a serious role in attracting talent and business. Offering your employees great benefits is one tool in maintaining not only a productive workplace but also a desirable reputation and competitive edge.
Want to offer paternal leave? Consider a parental paid leave policy that is gender neutral, hence giving the same access to leave to everyone. And don’t forget, it’s most important to foster a workplace culture that doesn’t stigmatize an employee taking leave from work to focus on their family, and return to the workplace mentally and physical well, and therefore productive.
Do we have you convinced to restructure your paid parental leave policies but not quite sure where to start? Eos HR can help. We’re a team of professionals working with small businesses to develop benefit options that make the most sense for their employee’s wellness and productivity. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
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