Even though companies like Microsoft, Netflix and Etsy have expanded paid parental leave over the past few years, less than one in five businesses offer it — and the United States remains the only developed nation with no paid maternity leave system.
According to a Boston College Center for Work and Family study, even if leave is offered, 42 percent of dads return to work after one week and 81 percent return to the office after two weeks.
Why? Concern over falling behind at work, fear of being judged by coworkers or leadership and worry that their choice doesn’t really “matter,” just to name a few.
However, research indicates that taking leave after the birth of a child is good for fathers at work and home: children benefit from spending time with both parents in early days, and from a business standpoint, it helps retains high-quality, loyal employees while addressing the gender pay gap as a whole.
Here’s why three dads took paternity leave, how it impacted their careers and families, and what they learned from the experience.