Led by buzzy tech companies offering generous benefits packages, more businesses are offering some sort of parental leave for not just mothers, but fathers as well. The question is whether they’ll actually take it.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the results of a new Deloitte survey. The situation isn’t totally bleak—for instance, in the last five years, the share of California fathers who had the option and took advantage has climbed from 17 to roughly 25 percent. But:
Men still think their careers will suffer if they take leave, according to a new Deloitte survey out this week. More than a third of the 1,000 respondents said they felt that taking leave would “jeopardize their position” at work. More than half said it would be perceived as a lack of commitment, and another 41 percent worry they would lose opportunities on projects.
No shit, reply the vast majority of women in their childbearing years. Welcome to the club! Now that parental leave is being made available to men, they’re discovering that all too often it comes with terms and conditions and all sorts of strings attached, because America talks a big game but systematically fails to give a shit about parents and babies.
Of course, part of the point of parental leave for dads—as Bloomberg Businessweek notes—is to distribute the responsibilities more evenly, so it’s not just women taking the hit; this shift should and will make men more invested in fighting the stigma. “By encouraging all of our employees to take it, more women will take it,” Deepa Purushothaman, the head of Deloitte’s Women Initiative, told the mag.
Hold for additional irony, please!
But men actually have less to worry about, it turns out. Research has found that having a child boosts men’s careers. Dads get a “fatherhood bonus:” Their earnings increase more than 6 percent for each kid they have, one study found. Part of that has to do with the fact that many don’t take time off. But men are also perceived differently than women for having kids. Dads are seen as being responsible, while moms are perceived as distracted.