- Working Mother released is first Best Companies for Dads list. The magazine selected 35 organizations for leading in the areas of paternity leave, flexible schedules, telecommuting opportunities, phase-back programs and other initiatives that help working fathers. Winning companies include American Express, Bank of America, EY, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, RSM, Unilever and Visa. Unilever, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, EY, MetLife, Boston Scientific, RSM and Microsoft make up the founding sponsors of the initiative.
- All companies on the list offer fully paid paternity leave for an average of nine weeks, compared to a nationwide 29% of companies. All winning companies also offer fully paid adoption leave, averaging 10 weeks, compared to 28% of employers nationwide. More than 85% of the companies offer financial benefits for in-vitro fertilization, as well. Among the men working at these companies, 85% of men use flexible schedules and 82% occasionally telecommute.
- "In order for companies to advance working mothers, they must support their working fathers," said Subha V. Barry, president of Working Mother Media, in a statement. "The level of enthusiasm we received from our founding sponsors was through the roof and speaks volumes about how organizations are recognizing the importance of supporting both working moms and dads. The Working Mother Best Companies for Dads strive to create a supportive environment for all working parents, and we hope other organizations take notice and follow their lead."
Companies may see good results when they ensure fathers have ample time off after a new baby arrives, but they'll probably notice that paternal leave impacts mothers at their organizations, too. When employers offer maternity leave but don't make paternity leave available, they may foster discrimination toward women who take off time after having a baby then get passed over for a job or a promotion because they need to go out on leave.
Organizations failing to offer equal amounts of parental leave might also risk litigation. Estée Lauder settled a suit with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over claims that its paternity leave policy violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by giving fathers less paid parental leave than mothers, thereby discrimination against men because of their sex.
Leaders looking to amp up their organizations' slates of parental benefits may want to keep an eye on other companies' initiatives. Some have introduced flexible schedules, return-to-work phase-in programs, telecommuting and development opportunities, all of which can help couples balance their caregiving responsibilities between them, while preventing women's careers from being shortchanged.