- With the definition of families continuing to evolve and change, more employers are expanding leave policies to include fathers, part-time employees and caregivers of parents to help ensure added inclusiveness among their workforce, according to a recent report from Mercer.
- The research, Mercer's 2016 Global Parental Leave report, found that while 64% of employers worldwide provide maternity leave for only the birth mother, 24% provide this leave to the primary caregiver — regardless of gender.
- Despite criteria for leave eligibility varying by policy type, country and company, on the whole this progressive view of family and gender roles is more prevalent when it comes to defining eligibility for paternity leave. For example, while 54% of employers define paternity leave eligibility based on the birth father only, an additional 34% provide leave based on the broadest definition — birth father or secondary caregiver, also regardless of gender.
Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business, said that with evolving gender roles and defining families to include same-sex parents, many organizations are modifying their parental leave programs to accommodate their changing workforce.
Some employers are even expanding their policies beyond government mandates, since leave is becoming a valuable tool for finding and keeping the best talent and promoting equality. The top ten countries with the highest percentage of employers providing paternity leave above the statutory requirement include the United States at number one, followed by Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and India.
In the U.S., employers will likely follow the example of employers such as Facebook, which extended its parental leave regardless of gender in November 2015. Fathers do seem to want paternity leave, though they are not always sure they can use what they have coming to them—meaning companies must ensure such programs are encouraged as an integral part of the culture in order for them to work.