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Three Dads Share What It Was Like Taking Parental Leave For The First Time

Source | FastCompany : By NICOLE MILLER

Around the world, fathers are increasingly being offered the same or similar leave as mothers (though in the U.S., it is typically unpaid time). In many cases, tech is leading the way. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently took two of the four months of paid leave Facebook allows.

By the numbers:

  • 89% of men believe it’s important to have paid family leave.
  • In the U.S., seven in 10 fathers who took parental leave took 10 days of leave or less.
  • Since California adopted a family paid leave law, the rate of men filing for the benefit increased from 17% to 26% in five years.
  • 13% of men who took parental leave received pay versus 21% for women.
  • Three states—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—provide paid family leave to both mothers and fathers on an equal basis.
  • Iceland has one of the most generous paid leave policies for fathers: 90 days at 80% pay.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, time off for dads—especially longer leaves of several weeks or months—can promote parent-child bonding, improve outcomes for children, and even increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.

Dads who take time off after their child’s birth are more likely to be involved in the child’s life later on. A 2007 study from researchers at Columbia University found that fathers who take longer leave are more involved in child care, even months after returning to work.

It’s good for moms, too, helping reduce the risk of postpartum depression and also boosting healthy hormones. Paid leave for dads also promotes pay equality in the workplace, and greater opportunities for sharing family responsibilities, which allows more women to further advance their careers.

So to show how important taking leave can be for dads, we asked some of Buffer’s amazing fathers to share their experiences of going on parental leave while working here. Here’s what three of them who did so for the first time had to say—in their own words.


Location: Cheshire, U.K.
Family: Steve and his wife, Wing, welcomed their first child, Leo, this May
Leave time: Three weeks of paid leave

When I first entered the workforce, I did some math and quickly realized that I would be spending more of my life in an office with my colleagues than at home with my family. This realization scared me a little. There had to be a better way, or at least a way where one could have that more ideal life-work balance.

When reflecting on what it might be like having a child, I realized I would never want to miss their first moments and decided to start building toward that lifestyle. Many years after this conclusion, I’m so grateful to have come to work at Buffer. Our value of “live smarter, not harder” is so important to all of us. Especially when it comes to our health, well-being and overall empathy toward one another.

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