According to a new survey from Deloitte, the male American worker is starting to understand the stress of taking leave to care for a newborn child. The survey found that even as more companies offer paid parental leave, men are also growing more worried about the impact taking the time off will have on their careers. This workplace anxiety is something many women know all too well.
The Deloitte survey asked 1,000 male American workers a variety of questions about using paternal leave. Nearly one in three said they were worried that taking the time off would hurt their careers. Also, 50 percent of the respondents said they thought using the offered parental-leave would show their employers that they weren’t committed to their jobs. These attitudes come even as more research shows the benefits of parental leave. As The Wall Street Journal notes, one study found men and women who take parental leave end up missing less work over time and are even more productive when they eventually return. Still, the stigma surrounding paternal leave is very real. Most fathers who do take their leave don’t use the entire time offered. Researchers at Ball State University and Ohio State University found that only 14 percent of fathers who take leave end up taking more than two weeks.
Despite these numbers, there is hope that the paternal leave stigma is wearing down. Recently American Express expanded its paternal leave benefits and dedicated classes and materials to encourage men to take the time off. According to the Journal, since implementing this new policy, AmEx experienced a 10 percent increase in male workers taking advantage of their leave. That’s progress. Future fathers of the world, take the time off. You need it. Your family needs it. Your career needs it, too.