The following is an excerpt from an article in The Wall Street Journal by Vanessa Fuhrmans. For the full article, click here.
As more companies offer new fathers more paid time off, a new challenge has emerged—persuading working dads to actually take advantage of it.
Job-related anxieties that come with parental leave, including worries about slowing one’s career’s trajectory, are familiar to many women. As more employers expand parental-leave benefits for men, new and soon-to-be fathers are confronting those same concerns.
Many men say they remain reluctant to take advantage of parental-leave policies. In a recent Deloitte survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers, one in three male respondents said they worried that taking time off to tend to a newborn would jeopardize their careers, and more than half of the men said they felt using parental-leave benefits available to them would be seen as a lack of commitment to their jobs.
Managers are trying to change that, at companies ranging from Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. to American Express Co.
Facebook allows four months of paid parental leave and encourages bosses to ask both expecting mothers and fathers “when”—not “if”—they plan to take the time off. Like CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who took two months off when each of his daughters was born, male managers often post about their own paternity leave. At Twitter Inc., fathers gather quarterly for “Dads Lunches” to trade parenting tips and talk through how and whether to take the full 20 weeks of paid leave the social-media firm offers.
“If you don’t take it, it’s borderline idiotic,” is the consistent message young dads get from senior managers and older fathers, says Twitter senior client partner Bob Belciano, who helps organize the lunches and took 12 weeks off after his son was born 13 months ago.
A study by researchers at Ball State University and Ohio State University found that across the U.S. only 14 percent of fathers who take leave do so for more than two weeks.