Paid Parental Leave Is Still A Rare Benefit In The US

By Ana Veciana-Suarez
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) While companies with 50 or more workers are required by law to provide time off for parents after birth or adoption, they don’t have to pay employees a penny during that leave.

Tribune News Service

Glacially, at a pace slower than the melting of the ice caps, we are moving toward an acceptance that fathers deserve, nay, should be encouraged, to spend precious time with their newborn children. Among a handful of U.S. companies, paternity leave has become the gold standard of employee benefits.

Still, it remains so rare, so atypical that when a dad publicly announces he will use this singular opportunity, we take notice. Especially if that father is a young, hard-driving billionaire.

Paternity leave popped up in the news a few days back, when Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced he would be taking time off when his second daughter is born, just as he did after his first go-around as Daddy.

He’ll be out the first month and then take another month in December. Facebook, by the way, is one of the few companies to offer fully paid paternity and maternity leave, four months to be exact.

Writing that he would always be grateful he got to spend so much time with his eldest in the first months of her life, Zuckerberg posted an endorsement of parental leave “because studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, it’s good for the entire family. And I’m pretty sure the office will still be standing when I get back.”

I love that last sentence, but more on that later.

Zuckerberg is one of the lucky daddies. His company is generous, and he adjusts his schedule according to his family’s needs.

Few employees can count on similar privileges. While companies with 50 or more workers are required by law to provide time off for parents after birth or adoption, they don’t have to pay employees a penny during that leave.

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