When Mark Zuckerberg became a dad last December, he took two months off to spend time with his wife and newborn daughter. To promote his philosophy, he famously took to his timeline to explain his decision and boast that Facebook’s policy allows new mothers and fathers to take up to four months of parental leave.
The 31-year-old CEO’s statement was as powerful as his company’s relatively generous paid leave offering. Combined, they earned Facebook third place on the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads list released today by Fatherly, a lifestyle website that serves as a community for millennial dads.
Even just a year ago, extended paternity leave was less common than it is today. Last year, Fatherly compiled a list of companies with perks for young dads, and nearly half of those it featured offered just one to two weeks of paid leave to fathers. This year, seven and a half weeks is the average among the 50 companies Fatherly’s report highlights, and the most common length of leave among companies on the list is four weeks.
The latter half of 2015 brought a cascade of companies lengthening their paid vacations for new dads (and in some cases, moms, too). On Aug. 4, Netflix proudly announced it would allow new parents unlimited paid leave within the first 12 months of a child’s birth or adoption. The next day, Microsoft followed suit, stating its dads would get 12 weeks off. In November, Spotify rolled out some new parental perks, including six months of paid leave, redeemable at any non-consecutive time, until the child’s third birthday.
These packages earned Netflix and Spotify the number one and two slots, respectively, on this year’s Fatherly list. In addition to Facebook, the top 10 also includes Patagonia, Google, Microsoft, Bank of America, LinkedIn, Twitter and Airbnb. (Check out the full 50 -- and read up on their policies here.)
While eight of Fatherly’s top 10 are tech companies, only 30 percent of all companies featured in the list fall under that category. The next most favorable industry for new dads is finance, and media and accounting and law are tied for third.
“If progress on paid parental leave was limited to huge companies with zippy logos in the Greater Bay Area, it wouldn’t really be progress,” Fatherly acknowledges in the report. “Over 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S. have fewer than 500 employees, and the smaller a company’s workforce, the more challenging it can be to accommodate new fathers.”
It will take time for businesses of all sizes and stripes to be able to accommodate new dads. Still, it’s clear that parental time-off is evolving from luxury to norm in the U.S. -- one of three countries globally that lacks a national leave policy (along with Papua New Guinea and Oman). More time off isn’t just better for dads -- it takes the pressure off moms and entire families and allows everyone to focus on what matters in those formative months.