Paternity Leave is essential

I have talked about the importance of paternity leave. I have touched upon it on this blog but it is something that should be addressed, discussed and made part of companies cultures just like the importance of diversity.

We are at a tipping point. #MeToo opened a huge dam and the water has been pouring out ever since. Timing is a funny thing. Sometimes the time is right and other times it isn’t but there is no doubt on this one that the timing of #MeToo was a movement waiting to happen.

It has created other conversations around the importance of diversity in our companies. The realization that women should get the respect and equality that they deserve. After all, although men appear to be running the world, we all know that women do so now it is time to strut our stuff.

Let’s start with the facts. Women can have children and men can not. That does not mean that men can not take equal part in the responsibilities of caring for their children. It takes two and just like the importance of diversity in our companies, it is great to have diversity in the family dynamic. Each partner, man or woman, bring something else to the table when raising a family.

Yet when only one of them stays home for maternity/paternity leave, which is in most cases is the woman, then that sets up the dynamics of childcare right then and there. If both partners stay home for their leave regardless of who had the child, then the bonding, the understanding of responsibility, the love that just grows and wants you to be at every major event including the 4th grade awards ceremony becomes set in a stone without negotiation.

That is why if we truly want to change with the #MeToo in our companies we must also change what is going on in our homes.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    I understand this totally, but what about when the economic factors can’t make this a viable option?

    1. LE

      Agree. The economics only work for a select group of companies. That would include venture funded companies, larger companies and companies that have a relatively easy time getting people to substitute for employees that are on leave. (Have an HR department or attractive work environment). This applies to both maternity and paternity leave unfortunately but that’s the reality. Also if you believe that people get better at their jobs then unrealistic to think that someone filling in can do the same job and (this is important) keep the customers happy.One other thing is that giving this type of benefit is a big advantage (and hence disadvantage) to non funded new small companies. That is ones that are not of the type to get venture funding. After all it’s a great benefit and would be a reason why someone would be less likely to work for a company that can’t afford that particular benefit. [1][1] Which raises another important issue which might be companies would be more inclined to hire older employees not of child raising age.

  2. TanyaMonteiro

    everything starts at HOME!

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Don’t necessarily agree. Let companies decide what they want to do and compete for employees. Government mandates that are one size fits all never work and larder on costs.

    1. awaldstein

      Change sometimes needs a lever to happen.I think this may be one.Free market forces on their own are most often not enough.(And of course I know we disagree on this one!)

      1. Pointsandfigures

        We disagree in this case. I don’t love either of my daughters any less because I went back to work after they were born.Additionally the government hat mandates you take time away can also mandate who watches your kids and what you do with themFree markets are messy but allocate resources better than executive orders edicts or central planning

        1. awaldstein

          All good and I understand.I am just so enamored at the possibilities of change through diversity and new ways of doing things that I think they need a shove.I listen to you my friend, and we have come out of the politics of the last bunch of years still friends, cause I know that all disagreements aside, our core ethics and humanity are what binds.

          1. Pointsandfigures

            BTW, if anyone fro Disqus is watching, your app UX on an iPhone or iPad sucks

        2. LE

          I don’t love either of my daughters any less because I went back to work after they were born.I think a common issue that many people have is simply evaluating based on one axis of an issue. For example saying that spending more time with kids is good w/o taking into account the impact that decions has on something of greater importance. Like earning a living. Ditto for driving kids all around to games and events (which was not defacto when I was growing up and hey we survived just fine as did those before us). But given the time that (driving and attendance) takes means the parent (man or woman) has less time to spend on their own health or sleep or work. So sure they say ‘it’s good for the kids’ but maybe they should be looking at the total picture and what is good long term with any decisions that they make.One the government makes a rule or decision they don’t take into account the vast majority of nuance that makes up the lives of most people and what is important to them is not the same for everyone. Obviously.

  4. awaldstein

    I have not thought through the details of the how of this as a business person.I am 100% convinced that this is a cultural shift agent of the highest proportion.And believe we need to think of the ‘arc of change’ and how each element pushes that change and prioritize along that arc. This is a big one.Like I’ve mentioned before, I have a great friend whose husband was the stay at home parent as she had a rockstar tech career and witnessed the culture change in the family. Was enlightening.

  5. LE

    then the bonding, the understanding of responsibility, the love that just grows and wants you to be at every major event including the 4th grade awards ceremony becomes set in a stone without negotiationI think it has to be recognized that events like that aren’t defacto important to everyone. In some cases it’s more important that either spouse focuses on earning a living which long term will be better for the children. And sure you can say ‘well it’s only one afternoon’ but that’s like trying to tell someone ‘it’s ok for you to not ‘run’ today’ or anything else. You can’t force feed behavior on someone who is not a willing participant under the assumption that it’s ‘just the right thing to do’.My father never did any of those things (back in the day) and it was never expected that he would. And it never mattered to me that he didn’t either. Or my sisters. What was expected was that he would earn a living and support the family. That is what he did. My mother never had any visions or interest in a career of her own (although when we were in high school she did get a job). What mattered? He could pay for high school and college and buy things that we needed and there was food on the table and so on. Occasional vacation etc. Was able to buy me photography equipment and anything that seemed to serve an educational or business purpose.Even with my own kids I was never at most events. What do they care about today? Not that at all. They care that I can help them pay for their apartment in NYC and that I paid for their college. In fact my daughter’s boyfriend’s parents couldn’t pay for his college and he is paying off the debt. They care zero that I didn’t go to any of their events. Need a car? No used piece of dangerous crap. We will get you something new that won’t break down and leave you stranded.Just telling it like it is and as I see it. Not everyone views the current culture of kids and their needs the same way. In fact it’s the opposite in some cases many of us think that kids are to catered to today and old school is a actually in many cases better for them.