Why Aren’t More New Dads Taking Paternity Leave?

15 percent of U.S. companies offer some kind of paternity leave

Father’s Day is just around the corner and a new study suggests that at least some fathers aren’t getting the love and respect they deserve.

A report by the Society of Human Resource says that although about 15 percent of U.S. firms offer new dads some form of paternity leave, gender stereotyping is causing them not to take it.

“Most employers still assume that work comes first for men, while women do all the child care,” University of Oregon sociologist Scott Coltrane told the Wall Street Journal.

Several reports over the past few years have suggested that more dads are staying at home with their children than in years past. A 2012 CNN report said that men were hit harder by the economic crisis, and found it harder than their spouses to get back into the workforce. The result? More stay-at-home dads. Many families cited a steep drop in child care costs as a primary reason it worked.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

Are you a stay-at-home dad or new father who’s recently taken paternity leave? We want to hear from you! Tell us your story in the comments.

  • Vincent

    About six months after starting with a new company, I was allowed to take paid paternity leave for either three weeks or eight weeks. I chose the former since I didn’t want to be away from work for so long, and I also felt like the latter was reserved more so for mothers. I split my three week time with two shortly after birth and one more week later on in case I needed to take off to watch my daughter. Being home was extremely good as it was my first time as a father. In hindsight, I wish I had written more in my journal so I could relay those moments now, but as most know, the first few weeks, the baby sleeps most of the time, so there wasn’t a lot of interaction but I was able to be of support to my wife and take a much needed break from work. (I work at a company that has high demands of 50+ hour weeks. Of the 25 days vacation I accrued last year, I rolled over 25. There seems to be this stigma against using the vacation days we’re allotted.) One of the things I enjoyed most during my leave was caring for our daughter in the middle of the night so that my wife could continue to recover from the delivery. However, my wife later told me that it was in that third week that she really wished I were home because that is when our daughter became more demanding. Now, we are preparing for our second child, and I have opted for the eight week leave. Two main reasons: Primarily to be of greater support in case it’s similar to the first one with greater challenges. Secondly, these are precious moments in my life I will never get back. As often stated, “at the end of one’s life, no one says ‘I wish I spent more time at the office'”. So, I’m going to relish my time with my family during these next two months and hopefully be of greater support to my wife during this time. Yes, the demands of work will be there, but the thing is, they will always be there. These opportunities to focus solely on the family will not.