In light of Father’s Day, it seems a good time to highlight the commitment and hard work of working fathers– many of whom reportedly are averse to taking parental leave, despite taking an immediate role in the care of their baby.
Times have changed
The traditional roles of mothers and fathers are converging. A U.S study titled “Modern Parenthood” found that fathers are becoming more involved in parenting now than ever before. Where mothers would typically work part time jobs to care for their child, fathers are now taking a more proactive role in bringing up their children to allow their spouse to work full time and develop their career.
The convergence of parenting roles between working mothers and fathers has also been recognized by top companies all over the world. This year, Yahoo Inc announced their new paternity policy, which gives new fathers up to 8 weeks off at full pay. Following suit is the Bank of America, which now offers 12 weeks paternity leave. With a reported 15% of U.S. firms providing some form of paternity for new fathers, it is clear that working fathers rights are becoming just as important and working mothers’.
Stigma of paternity leave
According to survey results in the U.S., a large portion of the working dad population are reluctant to take their paternity leave because they worry that leaving work for anything longer than one week, could mean they will lose their status at work, be left out of important decisions, or even be replaced.
Despite a recorded 85% of new fathers taking some time off from work after the birth of their child, the time taken is often no more than one or two weeks maximum – even if 12 weeks is permitted. Why is this so often the case? - Research suggests that many “active fathers” who work full time are (shockingly) teased at work and made to feel as though their dedication and commitment to their job has fallen since becoming a father. Whilst this may not necessarily be the case, the fear of co-workers and management thinking that their work standards are slipping because of their role as a parent, causes many working dads to opt out of taking parental leave. This is evident at Ernst and Young, where a recorded 600 male employees take parental leave each year, of which a staggering 90% of those new fathers taken only 2 weeks of the 6 weeks provided at full pay.
Mutual respect is earned by working dads
The role of working parents is evidently shifting. Men are taking a much more proactive role in bringing up their children, despite working full time jobs. In addition, the lack of parental leave taken by new fathers is testament to their commitment and hard work as a professional.