FOR COMPANIES AND THEIR EMPLOYEES
April 14, 2021
Working parents are often hit hard by the consequences of the current sanitary crisis – both at home and at the workplace. In times of homeschooling, juggling parental obligations and work responsibilities can pose an even greater challenge to any parent. Yet, new solutions are emerging – one the most promising being the rise of paternity leave schemes. According to recent research, paternity leave is viewed as a positive experience by most men because it helps to establish stable parental roles and secures a strong bond between fathers and children (Colantuoni/Rajbhandari 2021). Even more importantly, paternity leave schemes are likely to have a positive impact on society as a whole as they support working mothers who have long been forced to take on the bigger chunks of family responsibilities (ibid.). Two important company strategies can help to turn these benefits into a reality.
- Creating a positive company culture around paternity leave
Many fathers feel “worried and even embarrassed to use offered leave and flexible working entitlements” (Koslowski 2018). At the same time, research suggests “that men’s use of parental leave is significantly affected by organizational culture” (Haas et al. 2010: 319). Thus, making working dads feel more secure about taking a leave can be a sure-shot way to reap the potential benefits of paternity leave schemes. This task, of course, extends way beyond the workplace. Creating a positive image of fathers taking a break from their job to take care of a child is a project that touches on all parts of society. At Kinderjahre we cannot replace these emancipatory societal processes. What we can do is support your organization with expert advice on how to best empower fathers at the workplace and improve the standing of those who decide to take paternity leave.
- Implementing supportive company policies
Company policies directed at working parents have long been stressing the role of mothers. If more fathers are to be induced to take a leave, this focus needs to switch. Policies that ensure that leave gaps will not result in any disadvantages concerning long-term career prospects seem especially promising (Eurofund 2019: 20). Moreover, ensuring full pay during the leave seems to be vital (Rodgers 2018). Here, too, expert advice provided by Kinderjahre can help to find tailor-made measures for your company.