Nearly a Third of Men Feel Uncomfortable Taking Paid Parental Leave
A new LinkedIn survey reveals that men still feel pressured to take less time off than women.
Long gone are the days when child-rearing was viewed as a woman's job. Today, husbands are expected to do their fair share of the housework and help take care of the kids, especially when a new baby arrives. But unfortunately, the U.S. does not make it mandatory for employers to provide paid time off for new parents; so if a man doesn't take leave when his child is born, you wouldn't be alone in assuming that was a financially charged decision. But now, a new LinkedIn survey suggests that even when it's paid, men are more uncomfortable taking parental leave than women.
The LinkedIn survey polled more than 1,000 U.S. financial professionals, and found that while 92 percent of women said they were comfortable taking all of their paid parental leave when they have a child, only 71 percent of men felt the same way, with the majority saying that it was because their industries expected men to take less time off.
Ultimately, this gendered attitude toward parental leave can have negative consequences not just on men, but on their children, as well. Sarah Clark, MPH—a pediatric research scientist at the University of Michigan who conducted a study on dad shaming—said in a statement that "fathers who are loving and engaged can have a positive impact on their children's development and well-being." And that's been scientifically proven time and again.
There are numerous long-term benefits of a father spending time with his newborn. One 2017 study published in the Infant Mental Health Journal found that babies whose fathers interacted more with them in the first three months of their lives showed better cognitive development two years later. Another 2019 study published in the the journal Sex Roles found that children whose fathers took at least two weeks of paternity leave after they were born felt closer to their fathers nine years later than children whose fathers were absent during those first few weeks.
The issue is that "these companies still don't often acknowledge men's roles as fathers," Gayle Kaufman, a professor of sociology at Davidson College in North Carolina, told LinkedIn. "Even when they put in place these kinds of policies that may also apply to fathers, they're usually not read in that way."