- Paternity leave is on the rise and in demand, but career concerns may be causing new fathers to balk at taking full advantage, according to Human Resource Executive.
- HRE cites a Deloitte online survey that found fewer than half of employees surveyed said their company fosters an environment in which men are comfortable taking parental leave.
- Deloitte also found 36% of men said they have no plans to use the benefit, fearing it will jeopardize their position; 57% said that taking parental leave would show a lack of job commitment; 41% believed they would lose opportunities on projects, and 54% said colleagues would judge a man more harshly than a woman for taking the same amount of leave.
Deepa Purushothaman, a managing principal for women's initiatives at Deloitte, told HRE that if employers don't figure out a way for men and women to "take full leave and feel comfortable," HR leaders will risk losing top talent.
It's not enough to just have a paternity-leave benefit, she said. It also requires HR to create a "multi-layered process." She offered the idea of HR encouraging employees coming back from paternity leave to share personal stories and experiences with peers via informal conversations, staff meetings or other forums.
Ariane Hegewisch, program director for employment and earnings at the Institute for Women's Policy Research in Washington, told HRE that paternity leave requires strong incentives, including a possible flexible schedule rather than a solid leave block.
Flexibility has also been touted as a potential solution for working mothers who are returning to the workforce. While fathers may feel their careers are negatively impacted – and Hegwisch notes that they should be monitored to ensure that does not occur – employers must also be wary of losing new mothers or fathers entirely if their needs do not seem to be met.
Hegewisch offers the Center for WorkLife Law as a resource for HR in helping line managers track employees who take paternity leave.