While the unique role of dads in the lives of their children is well acknowledged, more companies make little or no effort to support their male employees to effortlessly assume this role. This is an ugly situation, mostly for new dads. But there is good news. Some companies are providing full parenting benefits for fathers, including paid paternity and adoption leave, childcare options, etc. A full list of the Best Companies for Dads and the parenting benefits they offer should be helpful [mostly for new dads] in choosing the companies to work for, where they can enjoy being a dad.
The role of fathers in child upbringing is absolutely exceptional. Aside from helping children to be more emotionally secure and to have better social connections, fathers are wonderful sources of wisdom. Many would agree to have received some of their best advice from the man that raised them. But considering the position of dads in the family as the leading force of provision, employment obligations have impenitently relegated dads to second-class citizens in the lives of their children.
Dads generally spend the least amount of time with their children due to this obvious reason. According to a 2018 study by Pew Research Center, about 63 % (two in every three) of fathers spend very little time with their children and nearly all blamed their jobs for this, whereas only 35 % (one in every three) of mothers spend less time with their kids. However, this scenario is beginning to change since the 1970s due to new studies being developed to support the impact of fathers in child upbringing.
Some companies are taking reasonable steps to discontinue this lingering trend by instituting different parenting benefits for fathers. They include providing paid paternity leave, phase-back-to-work programs and employee-resource groups for men. Paid adoption leave, telecommuting opportunities, childcare options, and flexible schedules are also some of the options made available in some companies to promote dad-supported child development. These employment conditions may be crucial in choosing organizations to work for, mostly for new dads.
The HR Digest has released a list of Best Companies for Dads 2019, based on parenting benefits. All the selected Best Companies for Working Dads had both paid paternity and adoption leave, while other factors such as phased back-to-work programs, backup care, remote working and more are offered by a majority of the companies. Netflix and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are top of the list for firms with unlimited paternity leave.
CRITERIA USED IN SELECTING 'BEST COMPANIES FOR DADS'
In creating the list, The HR Digest analyzed answers to questions related to fathers about paternity and adoption leave benefits, surrogacy and fertility benefits, and childcare options for men and programs that let parents easily go back to work after parental leave. Only the top 35 organizations were considered based on their significant points relative to other companies.
PAID PARENTAL LEAVE IS THE MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY BENEFIT OFFERED BY COMPANIES
There has been an increase in the number of companies offering paid paternity leave in the US. Paid parental leave offering companies have increased from 21 % to 29 % between 2016 and 2018. However, paid maternity leave offering companies also jumped from 26 % to 35 % within the same period.
HOW EMPLOYERS CAN SUPPORT WORKING DADS
The society is increasingly acknowledging that fathers struggle with the conflicts of work and family far more than their co-workers who are moms. According to the report “Expecting More Than a Baby: Closing the Employee Experience Gap for Working Parents,” commissioned by Talking Talent, the parent company of Life Meets Work, an award-winning global coaching consultancy, two-thirds of working parents (66 percent) feel they are somehow failing to be the parent they want to be due to work pressures.
Normalizing the use of paid family leave reduces the extra scrutiny many new parents face. Fathers, in particular, believe they’re penalized for taking parental leave and believe their careers have flagged compared to their peers without children. Women in the study reported taking 52 percent of available leave, while men reported taking even less, at 32 percent.
Sixty four percent of working parents say they would have been more likely to take a longer parental leave if coworkers had. Organizations need to set and enforce flexible parental leave policies that are fair to everyone. Don’t let parental leave policies die in the employee handbook. Encourage working dads to take advantage of them.
Executional excellence on paid family leave policy can prove to be a competitive advantage. The report notes that the result is committed and highly appreciate employees thriving in their new role of working parent. Men reported an increased sense of confidence by 58 percent and women by 50 percent. Other skill-set improvements include time management, influence delegation, and managing change.
Organizational cultures are to adjust as fathers take up family responsibilities such as caregiving responsibility. Fathers shouldn’t be valued as being only a financial provider. Employers can support fathers by implementing the following.
- Set up a mentoring program or fathers’ employee network that will focus on work/life balance aside from career development. Sixty-five percent of millennials were more likely to say they would have valued outside coaching and support to help them transition in and out of leave.
- Establish and support training that will help fathers on career/life planning
- Offer flexible work options for father’s struggling with meeting up with personal and professional responsibilities.
- Providing and encouraging the use of gender-neutral parental leave to enable father bond with their children and not worry about committing less to their employers while also learning hands-on caregiving skills.
ASK THE EXPERT: Teresa Hopke is the CEO of Talking Talent Inc., and a nationally recognized speaker who has been featured in many books and media outlets such as CNBC, the CBS Morning Show, NBC Nightly News, NPR, Wall Street Journal, and HR Magazine. In an interview with The HR Digest, Hopke explains why organizations must implement parental leave policies with a spirit of authenticity rather than of mere compliance.
The HR Digest: Women in the Talking Talent survey reported taking only 52 percent of available leave, while men reported taking even less, at 32 percent. How can companies ease the financial cost of taking paternity leave and make it easier for parents to remain in touch with work?
Teresa Hopke: The most obvious way that employers can help ease the financial cost of taking paternity leave is to expand their leave policies to include a longer period of paid leave for all caregivers. We are seeing a number of organizations move in this direction with some of them offering up to a year of paid leave. If an organization isn’t prepared to go that far, there are many other ways they can show their support. Some examples include allowing new parents to ease back from leave on a part-time basis while being paid at a higher than part-time rate, letting employees work remotely for an extended period of time, and setting up programs where employees can donate PTO to new parents and others in need of more leave time.
One key thing to note here is that financial cost is often NOT the reason that new dads don’t take paternity leave. Perceived lack of support & stigma around commitment to the organization often drive leave decisions.
The HR Digest: Only 35 percent of Millennials surveyed agreed their managers were effective in helping them transition in and out of leave. With more millennials entering the workforce, how can organizations best help working parents lead the life they want?
Teresa Hopke: Policies only go so far. If organizations want to support the millennials entering their workforce, they have to create a culture of support around leave. That means investing in both managers and employees. Managers need to be trained to be more emotionally intelligent so they know what it looks like to show support and how to set aside their own biases related to taking leave. Employees need coaching, tools, and resources to help them successfully navigate through the leave process while staying focused on their career ambitions. Employers who provide a package of support options related to leave are well positioned to attract Millennials who are high achieving in both career and life.
The HR Digest: In 2019, expectations for female and male employees are still vastly different. What are the missed business opportunities for employers when fathers don’t take the leave their employers offer?
Teresa Hopke: The implications of new dads taking leave and bonding with their new baby reach far beyond the leave period. Many middle-aged men struggle with finding the right mix of career and family and a good number of them end up divorced, depressed, or miserably going through their days while not contributing fully at either work or home. Investing time at the outset to bond as a new family and proactively establishing boundaries and habits that will contribute to success when it comes to managing work and career can often help prevent some of the negative outcomes for men later on in their careers. Negative impact on mental health and well-being claims, productivity, and morale can all be avoided if employers invest upfront in encouraging new dads to take their leave by creating a culture that supports the leave process and the new parents.