My wife and I had our first child two years ago. During pregnancy, people regularly told us how kids change everything. I assumed that to be true, but I did not realize it would change how I view work. Specifically, it changed how I view benefits at work.
I fall in the middle of older millennials, ages 25-34, and we are rapidly becoming parents. According to Gallup, 40% of older millennial households currently have a child under 18. And this generation of dads is more involved in raising their children than previous generations. “This trend has been changing for some time,” says Simon Isaacs, co-founder and Chief Content Officer of Fatherly, a guide for men entering parenthood. “Look at how dads are portrayed in shows like Leave It To Beaver, Home Improvement, and now Modern Family.”
As millennial dads become more involved in raising their children, they look for jobs with the flexibility to be involved. The paternity policy is increasingly popular as a benefit for employees, and the topic of parental and paternity leave recently made the news by both presidential candidates. “Tech companies and financial firms are the top two industries that emphasize this benefit,” notes Isaacs. “But in 2016, we are seeing more kinds of companies, like Johnson & Johnson and those in the hospitality industry, get involved.” Even a study from the White House reveals the significant benefits for companies offering a robust parental leave policy.
So what does a paternity policy look like, and who is actually doing it? Here are five examples:
Cloud-based software company Basecamp offers up to six weeks of paternity leave at full salary. “That policy was driven by employee needs and the company’s philosophy that there are times when work can wait – like after the birth or adoption of a child,” says Mercedes De Luca, COO at Basecamp. According to De Luca, the Basecamp policy is an ever-evolving policy that began when the first ‘Basecamp baby’ was born four years ago. Recent dad and Basecamp designer Jonas Downey says the “dedicated time with my new son…endeared me to the company more than just about anything else they could do. In return, I came back to work feeling enthusiastic instead of worn out and stressed.”
Bullhorn, Boston, MA
This Boston-based software company offers two weeks of fully paid paternity leave for non-primary caregivers. The employee must use this time off within the first year after birth or adoption. Bullhorn also sends a monogrammed baby bag to the employee’s house, and offers a $500 stipend for food.
“We let people navigate family challenges with the level of flexibility they need,” Bullhorn President Matt Fischer told me. This approach is integral to their desire to meet the needs of their employees. Beyond the paternity leave, Bullhorn offers four months of paid time off for the primary caregiver, male or female. Bullhorn Founder and CEO Art Papas recently wrote an article explaining why they make it mandatory for the primary caregiver to take this time off, and why he believes it is vital to the health of the company.
Online marketplace eBay launched a new paternity policy on January 1 of this year. The new policy offers new dads up to 12 weeks of paid paternity leave at 100% of the employee’s base salary. “Changes in the workforce and demographics in the U.S. have made it increasingly important to provide workers with the flexibility and support they need to care for children or aging parents,” says Penny Bruce, Director of Corporate Communications. “Our employees are what makes eBay great, so we wanted to make sure they have time to take care of both themselves and their families, when they really need it.”
EY (Formerly Ernst & Young)
Global accounting firm EY announced a new parental leave policy in July of this year. “Mothers and fathers in the US are eligible for up to 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave,” explains Karyn Twaronite, Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer at EY. The policy includes those who become parents by birth, adoption, foster care, or legal guardianship. “EY then became the first of the Big Four firms to offer coaching for new parents before, during and after the birth or adoption of their child,” she said.
How has this policy been received by EY employees? “My wife had an emergency C-section, and the ability to be on leave when the babies were born allowed me to be the primary caregiver during her recovery,” says EY Tax Partner Gerald Whelan says. The coaching was a big help in his transition after paternity leave ended:
“Once I returned to the office, I was able to transition back into the swing of things with the help of my coach. I also took parental leave when my wife work returned to work. My coach helped talk through with me my responsibilities at work and home and come up with a plan to focus on my priorities. This allowed me to define “balance” in my own personal terms and envision what it means to be successful partner at EY and a good spouse and father at home.”
Creative policies from small businesses
Companies of all sizes are offering paternity leave, and small businesses are no exception. According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 28 million small businesses in the United States. Some companies, like Geben Communication, are able to offer up to 10 weeks of paid time off for both moms and dads. “We also know that returning to work can be abrupt,” says CEO Heather Whaling, “so we offer the opportunity to transition back over a two-week period with a combination of remote and on-site work.”
Other companies, like Suprex Learning Katy, get creative in what they offer to new dads. “Due to my company’s limited budget, we cannot offer a full paid paternity leave without work,” says owner AJ Saleem. “Instead, I offer an opportunity to work at home with full pay. This allows a parent to stay home and take care of their children as well as work for the company.”
Paternity leave is now a requirement
Companies who want to find the best talent will offer policies favorable to millennial dads. “Parental leave is one of the most important things that companies are offering, even in regards to competitive salary,” observes Isaacs. “Dads are putting family and family values higher on their value set than ever before. Paternity leave is no longer ‘nice to have,’ but a business requirement.”
This article was written by Wes Gay from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.
BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation and may be used as a generic term to reference the corporation as a whole and/or its various subsidiaries generally. This material does not constitute a recommendation by BNY Mellon of any kind. The information herein is not intended to provide tax, legal, investment, accounting, financial or other professional advice on any matter, and should not be used or relied upon as such. The views expressed within this material are those of the contributors and not necessarily those of BNY Mellon. BNY Mellon has not independently verified the information contained in this material and makes no representation as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, merchantability or fitness for a specific purpose of the information provided in this material. BNY Mellon assumes no direct or consequential liability for any errors in or reliance upon this material.