Around 44% of working fathers report worrying that utilizing employer options to give working parents more flexibility would negatively impact their performance reviews, according to a study by Bright Horizons. While more male caregivers are taking advantage of work-life balance benefits, more than half want their company would provide more childcare support.
Though norms have changed, encouraging men to be more involved in child-rearing, there are still some obstacles. Men are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act if they work for a company of more than 50 employees. However, this does not extend to men working in small businesses or benefit those who cannot financially afford to take unpaid time off.
The fathers who do take time off for the birth of their child rarely take a week, with 76% returning to work less than a week after the birth. Additionally, 23% who are offered paternity leave do not use any time. It is important to note that through a Zippia survey, 90% of working fathers claimed that taking paternity improved their relationship with their partners and forged stronger bonds with their children.
Creating an inclusive work environment
Many organizations claim to be “family-first;” however, the culture needs to support that ideation. The average father today has tripled the amount of time spent caring for his children and doubled the amount of housework compared to fathers of the previous generation. Encouraging parents to utilize hybrid or flexible schedules can allow a working parent to allocate the appropriate time to the numerous work and personal responsibilities without burning out and taking unnecessary paid time off.
It is also important when educating on parental benefits that the language is inclusive toward fathers and not just mothers. The language can help reduce the stigma and allow fathers to be more involved in their family rearing leading to a stronger work-life balance and potentially more positive feelings regarding their organization. Companies that support their employees, especially those who are parents, typically experience higher attraction and retention.