I’m officially back at my full-time job after my 7-month paternity leave. Well, time flies at work in a different way. I know I wrote about my experience of taking paternity leave in the last newsletter and I’m going to write about it again. This time, I’m going to share the 9 Surprising Benefits of Paternity Leave.
1. It helps prevent postpartum depression for the mother
Paternity leave can save lives. A study found that the lack of paternal involvement in infant care was significantly associated with maternal depression intensity. In other words, paternity leave helps prevent postpartum depression. Women experience peak postpartum depression after two weeks of giving birth. It’s crucial that their partners be present for logistical and emotional support.
2. The parental bond makes fathers happier
Paternity leave can help bring strong relationships with children over time. In some instances, the time spent at home allowed fathers to develop what they characterized as a “special” bond that would last for years to come. In a world where nearly half of fathers report dissatisfaction with the amount of time they spend with their children, paternity leave equalizes the opportunity for men to “be there.”
3. When fathers take leave, it can increase gender equity at the workplace
When fathers take more paternity leave, it may increase the ability of mothers to engage in paid work, with a positive effect on female labor force participation and wages.
4. It creates a culture of innovation
Experiencing something new outside of work can provide a more diverse perspective.
5. It attracts and retains the best talent
Eighty percent of men entering the workforce in Japan say they want to take paternity leave and 90% of female students in Japan say they want their partner to take parental leave. Therefore, companies with a culture that promotes parental leave will attract these highly skilled and educated workers.
6. It increases the productivity of the employee
Men who spend time with their children report a boost in happiness and fulfillment that also extends to the workplace.
7. It boosts the economy by slowing down the population decrease (especially in Japan)
One of Japan’s biggest social issues is the rapidly decreasing population. Studies show that when men spend more time doing childcare and household duties, birth rate tends to increase, which will have a positive impact on the economy in the future.
8. It helps close the gender gap
In countries where taking paternity leave is the norm, the gender gap is small. Iceland, Finland, and Norway rank top 3 in the global gender gap index and over 75% of fathers take paternity leave.
9. When men take paternity leave, everyone is happier
The previously mentioned countries also rank high in the World Happiness Report. Coincident? I don’t think so. Countries where most men take extended paternity leave have a smaller gender gap than the countries where men taking parental leave is not a norm. A study found that gender equality was shown to significantly improve life satisfaction. Needless to say, countries with more gender equality tend to be happier, while countries with less gender equality tend to be less happy.
If you want to learn more, there are great resources available online about the other benefits of paternity leave. Here are some of my favorites: