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The Importance of Paternity Leave

Dads and paternity leave is often overshadowed by maternity leave, yet men are increasingly realizing the importance of paternity leave.

When it comes to the public consciousness, dads and paternity leave is often overshadowed by mums and maternity leave. Yet men are increasingly realizing that paternity leave presents an invaluable time that benefits both their family and their career.
With a recent study showing that 40% of eligible UK fathers do not take advantage of paternity leave, there is still some way to go. Below are 4 reasons on the importance of paternity leave:

1. Paternity Leave Promotes a Healthy Relationship
Paternity leave bolsters connection and communication between partners. When one person is at home with a new baby and the other remains at work, they can start living in different worlds and have less to talk about.
New mums typically report extreme fatigue and exhaustion when caring for infants. But when dads take paternity leave, mums benefit from the lightening of this workload, as well as from the clear creation of a unified front in the home. When dads don’t take paternity leave, mums may become trapped in the primary carer role, whether they like it or not. When men feel connected as dads from the very beginning, moms may also feel more comfortable relinquishing control to this equal partner who knows how to do it just as well as she does.

2. It Benefits Your Employer & Career
On the 5th April 2015, new rights to allow parents to share leave following the birth or adoption of their child become Law. The new rules mean that couples with babies due, or children matched or placed for adoption, after 5 April 2015 will be able to share leave.
Despite this, many dads may be hesitant to approach their employers about this option. Research indicates that companies who provide parental leave, as well as more flexibility overall, have more loyal employees, better staff retention and higher productivity levels. Men have concerns that requesting family leave time will kibosh all of their hard work and hurt their careers. But as companies become more attuned to what it takes to run a successful business, this is becoming less and less likely.

3. It Enables Dads To Love Being Dads
Multiple studies report that missing time that could be spent with infants, babies and children has an adverse effect on dads, who regret not enjoying those valuable moments. However, when men were able to spend time with their infants, they felt overall well-being, satisfaction and fulfillment.

4. It Has a Positive Impact On Your Child’s Development
Kids whose dads took paternity leave have been shown to become more social as they grow up, perform better in school and even have higher IQs. The earlier that dads get involved in actively taking care of their kids, the more involved they will be in the long haul.
Children also benefit from observing their mother’s and father’s different styles of parenting. Those benefits may even extend well into adulthood, with girls having lower teen pregnancy rates and boys having a powerful father figure to emulate in their own female relationships.

Times are changing and so are mums and dads. As more men acquire the courage to opt in for paternity leave, businesses will reap the benefits of this new, loyal and balanced workforce. If you're in HR, take a look at your paternity leave policy. Is there anything you can do to improve it?
Families as a whole can only benefit too, with the clear winners being the babies, who get to hang with dads who love them and are willing to blow their noses, change their diapers and wake up for them in the middle of the night.
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