Over the past few decades, researchers have spent a significant amount of time thinking about the importance of a father in a child's life. Each study has come to the same conclusion: having an involved dad is incredibly beneficial to any child’s development. At the employee level, we all understand how beneficial paternity leave can be, but convincing management and leadership of those benefits is often a completely different story.
I distinctly remember back in 2014 when Major League Baseball player Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets took a whole THREE DAYS to be with his wife and newborn child after his wife went into labor on the opening day of the season. There was a huge backlash from the sports world. Sports announcer and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason was on the radio discussing the topic when he said,
"Quite frankly I would've said 'C-section before the season starts. I need to be at opening day. I'm sorry, this is what makes our money, this is how we're going to live our life, this is going to give our child every opportunity to be a success in life. I'll be able to afford any college I want to send my kid to because I'm a baseball player"
Sports talk radio host Mike Francesa chimed in a few days later, saying,
"I don't know why you need three days off, I'm going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you're a Major League Baseball player. I'm sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that"
"Your wife doesn't need your help the first couple days, you know that" ... What? I remember after my daughter was born, my wife ABSOLUTELY needed every bit of help from me and I was happy to be there for her. I got to spend time with this miracle I’d be helping to nurture for the rest of my life. I was very fortunate to spend that time with them, and I would not trade it for anything in the world. The problem is the generation in leadership at bigger companies are from the same cohort as Esiason and Francesa, one that often sees fatherhood as a more detached role.
Today, any organization, and especially any organization that employs moms and dads, must understand the importance of equitable parental leave. More and more companies in the Bay Area are beginning to trend in the right direction, giving new dads extended amounts of time to be with their newborns. Netflix offers unlimited paternity leave for the first year, allowing fathers to return part-time or full-time and even return and then go back on leave as needed while continuing to be paid normally. Spotify offers 24 weeks for new dads to use however they see fit up to their child’s third birthday, and Facebook offers 17 weeks and throws in a $4,000 new child benefit. These are just a few of the companies leading the charge for better paternity benefits, and we at Fit Pros applaud their efforts!
To help support those efforts, we've compiled a list of articles that either speak to the benefits of paternity leave or provide information about laws pertaining to paternity leave.
By Chase Scheinbaum @ Fatherly
By Liza Mudy @ The Atlantic
By Joshua A. Krisch
By Ronald Alsop @ New York Times
By Rikki Rogers @ TheMuse