While you have probably heard of and know women taking maternity leaves so commonly, paternity leaves are not so widely implemented. Most businesses clearly state their idea of discrimination-free work ethics, it is surprising that less than 10 percent of the registered businesses in the United States has females as CEOs or as other highest-authority position holders. In fact, according to an article on Forbes.com, among all the developed countries, the United States of America is the only one that does not implement any parental leave – not even maternity leave. On the contrary, Sweden is popularly known as one of the countries with the widest use of paternity leave and the narrowest difference between men’s and women’s professional equality.

The fact that paternity leave is not taken as often as maternity leave, and the effect it has on the hiring process or professional growth of employees, proves that the absence of paternity leave’s implementation is, in fact, a form of discrimination.

How Does Lack of Paternity Leaves Result in Discrimination?

Considering a business-minded person is interviewing a male and a female candidate for the same position, it is usually predictable that the interviewer would choose to employ the male candidate. Why? Because females, usually of child-bearing age, are considered less of an asset to the companies as compared to males, especially because of the stigma that women are more family-oriented rather than career-oriented, regardless of how skilled and talented they are. This leads to the HR managers considering the loss to the company in cases where the female candidates would take some months off without being replaced.

Is Maternity Leaves A Reason Behind Less Implementation of Paternity Leaves?

Before understanding the need for paternity leave, it is to be understood why women take maternity leave. Since women are the parents who go through the most changes and effects of having a baby, it is almost essential for them to take a leave especially as the time of their baby’s birth comes nearer.

Health is the most important reason behind the need for maternity leave. Giving birth is an exhaustive process for the mind and the body, hence, women need that break from work to help get themselves together. Moreover, since women are usually the primary caretakers of the newborn baby, they need to take responsibility for the baby, the household, and the family before they can give time to work.

What significance does this have to paternity leave? One of the many reasons why paternity leaves are so uncommon is because caring for the baby and the family is naturally considered a female’s responsibility, so men prefer to continue their work routines. While women take unpaid leaves from their work to take care of the baby and compromising their professional promotions, men continue with their career growth. This goes against the nature of gender equality because technically, both the parents should take responsibility for the newborn’s and the household’s care.

Therefore, if men were allowed and interested in paternity leaves, the workload would be divided, lessening the burden on the female parent alongside shortening the length of maternity leaves which would ultimately benefit the business.

Benefits of Implementing Compulsory Paternity Leaves:

  1. Mandatory Paternity Leaves Will Help the Businesses: If paternity leaves are implemented and mandated in firms, there would be numerous advantages to the business itself. Firstly, they would actually be able to maintain a discrimination-free work ethic in terms of hiring and promotions. Secondly, there would be lesser loss or worry for the manager to arrange someone to do the female employees as the maternity leaves would be shorter.
  2. The Society’s Gender Gap Would Minimize: Since only females are currently the caretakers of the house due to social norms and stigmas followed by traditions, male parents get very little time at home with their families. When both parents will be taking parental leaves, the responsibilities of the baby’s care will shift from being majorly on the mother’s shoulders to be divided equally between both parents.
  3. The Whole Family Wins When Dads Take an Off: When the father takes paternity leave, he gets to spend more time with the family which allows for better bonding between the baby and the father as well as between the whole family. Moreover, the divided responsibilities resulting from parental leaves will give the family a better, friendlier environment rather than the hectic and stressful environment that results from one parent being burdened by all the baby-care and household responsibilities.

Conclusion: The male employees deserve a paternity leave, even if they don’t prefer it. The benefits of a paternity leave are as good as of maternity leave, and so is the requirement of it. Paternity leaves can contribute to better business management and healthier families resulting in an improved society for everyone.