In the last decade, we have seen a shift in traditional gender roles both at home and in the workplace, with modern fathers wanting to become more involved in day-to-day parenting than ever before.
This change in dynamic has only heightened over the last year and a half, with many working fathers swapping the daily commute for breakfast with the family due to the pandemic.
Remote working has led to an increase in men taking on more domestic and childcare responsibilities. With this, and the shift in workplace culture due to the pandemic, more fathers are seeking flexible working patterns and family-orientated policies from their employers, such as enhanced paternity leave.
In a recent Reed LinkedIn poll, we asked our followers “Do you think paternity leave should be the same length as maternity?”. With 3,490 votes, 61% of people said yes, 29% said no and 10% of respondents said they were not sure.
Some large companies, such as KPMG, Etsy, Twitter, Asos and Spotify, have already begun implementing an extension to their paid paternity leave policy, which gives new fathers an extra 16-26 weeks of full-paid leave.
With the demand for enhanced paternity leave from fathers evident, what are the benefits for employers?
Boosts workforce retention
Offering paid paternity leave can make it easier to hold on to the talented employees that your business has spent time and money training up. Improved paternity leave also acts as an investment in your employees, in the hopes that the individual remains at your business after having a baby.
Improves the mental health of fathers
Becoming a parent can affect some fathers’ mental health. Research from new parent support charity NCT found that the number of men who struggle with depression in the first year after becoming a dad is double that of the general population.
The charity found that some risk factors for postnatal depression in men include a history of anxiety or depression, financial pressures, and disruption to their routine, some of which could be alleviated through extended paid paternity leave.
Attracts top talent
As more companies begin to offer enhanced paternity leave for their employees, those that don’t become less attractive to those looking for work.
Enhanced paternity packages demonstrate to prospective employees that your business cares about its staff's wellbeing outside of work - and signals that you have a flexible workplace, which is becoming increasingly desirable to job seekers.
It’s beneficial for future employees who are looking to build a career and family to know that their employer would support them to do this. If you offer enhanced paternity pay make sure to mention it on your job descriptions, as it could be a deciding factor for talented professionals.
Ends the stigma and helps reduce the gender pay gap
We spoke to dad of two and Founder of Career Dad, Dan Reed on the matter, he said "Having society view men as equal, or primary, caregivers is crucial in order to bridge the gender equality gap. Until enhanced paternity leave is properly funded, and the stigma around men being carers is dropped, change is going to be that much harder".
While it is clear that men want to be treated the same as women when it comes to taking parental leave, a report from the CIPD found nearly 73% of men felt there was a stigma attached to them taking paternity leave.
Employers can do more to remove this stigma by providing clear communication on the policy and training managers to correctly deal with challenging or negative attitudes.
Similarly, enhancing paternity leave can also help reduce the gender pay gap. With childcare duties being shared, women are able to go back to their careers quicker, therefore reducing the time they would ordinarily miss which affects their access to opportunities such as promotions or salary increases.
Boosts employee morale and productivity
According to an Ernst and Young study, more than 80% of employers that offered paid paternal leave reported a positive impact on employee morale, while more than 70% reported an increase in employee productivity.
Offering enhanced paternity leave not only keeps up with the realities of workers and their family lives but also promotes a better work-life balance that can translate to employees being more productive and engaged day to day when they are working.
Alternatives to offering enhanced paternity leave
If your business can’t afford to offer its employees enhanced paternity leave, there are alternative benefits you could consider supporting fathers, including:
The opportunity to return to work part time
Paid time off to attend appointments with their partner
Gifts to celebrate the occasion
Flexibility with working hours or allowing the employee to work hybrid or remotely
Salary sacrifice scheme for childcare
If you’re looking for a talented professional or your next opportunity, find your nearest Reed office and speak to one of our specialist recruiters.