The Case for Paternity Leave: How It Benefits Everyone Involved

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When it comes to family leave policies, most people are familiar with maternity leave. But what about paternity leave? This type of leave is becoming increasingly common and for a good reason.

In this article, we’ll explore what paternity leave is, its benefits for both employees and employers, and what companies can do to create effective paternity leave policies.

What Is Paternity Leave?

Paternity leave is a type of leave taken by fathers or partners after the birth or adoption of a child. It provides new fathers with the opportunity to bond with their child(ren) and support their partner during the early stages of parenthood. Paternity leave can be taken as a continuous block of time or can be split into shorter periods of time.

Benefits of Paternity Leave

For employees:

  • Bonding with the child. Paternity leave allows fathers to spend quality time with their newborn child, and bond with them in the critical early months of life. Research has shown that this early bonding is critical for the development of a healthy parent-child relationship.
  • Support for partners. New mothers often need a lot of support during the first few months of parenthood. By taking paternity leave, fathers can help alleviate some of the stress and pressure on their partner, and provide support during this transitional period.
  • Reduced stress. The transition to parenthood can be stressful for both parents. Paternity leave allows fathers to take time off work to adjust to their new role as a parent and reduce their overall stress levels.

For employers:

  • Improved employee retention: Offering paternity leave can help companies retain talented employees, particularly in industries where talent is scarce. By providing this benefit, companies can show their commitment to supporting employees during important life events, and help create a positive company culture.
  • Reduced turnover costs: Losing an employee can be expensive for companies, both in terms of recruitment costs and lost productivity. By offering paternity leave, companies can reduce turnover costs and improve their bottom line.
  • Improved work-life balance: By offering paternity leave, companies can help promote a healthy work-life balance for their employees. This can help reduce burnout and improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

Paternity Leave Regulations Across the World

The United States

By mandating 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides some relief for new parents looking to spend time bonding with their newborn or recently adopted child. However, there is no federal law requiring employers to provide paid paternity leave. That means it’s up to individual states and companies to decide whether or not they want to offer it, and if they do, how much they want to pay.

According to the Center for American Progress, only 11 states mandate paid family leave in the country as of 2023. These include:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

The United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, eligible employees can take up to two weeks of paternity leave. They can choose to take either one or two weeks of leave, and the amount of leave is the same even if they have more than one child (for example, twins).

Paternity leave must be taken in one go and extend beyond the 56 days of the baby’s birth. Employees must give their employer 28 days’ notice of their intention to take paternity leave.

To be eligible for paternity leave, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be the biological father or the partner of the mother who has (or expects to have) responsibility for the baby’s upbringing.
  • Be employed by your current employer for at least 26 weeks ending with the 15th week before the baby’s due date.
  • Earn a minimum of £123 a week on average.

Same-sex partners and employees who are adopting a child or using a surrogate are also eligible for two weeks of adoption leave.


Paternity leave in Canada is part of parental leave, which means that both parents can use this time off together.

There are two types of parental leave in Canada:

  • Standard parental leave: It allows each parent to take up to 35 weeks of leave (or share 40 leave weeks between each other) at 55% of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $65o per week.
  • Extended parental leave: This type of leave allows each parent to take up to 61 weeks of leave (or share 69 weeks in total between each other) at 33% of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $390 per week.

Parental leave can be started before or after the birth or adoption of the child. It can be taken in one block or intermittently. Besides, the leave period can be extended in case of health complications in a child.


Sweden has probably the most progressive leave policy, which has been around since the 1970s. New parents are entitled to 480 days of shared parental leave (240 days for each parent).

There have been many studies on the effects of paternity leave in Sweden. Some of the benefits that have been observed include:

  • Increased gender equality: By giving fathers the opportunity to take time off work to care for their children, Sweden has seen a significant increase in gender equality, as men are more involved in parenting and household duties.
  • Improved child health: Studies have shown that children of fathers who take paternity leave have better long-term health outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations and lower rates of sickness.
  • Higher job satisfaction and work-life balance: Fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to report higher job satisfaction and better work-life balance, as they have the opportunity to bond with their children and take on a greater share of caregiving responsibilities.
  • Increased gender diversity in the workplace: By providing paternity leave, companies in Sweden have been able to attract and retain more male employees, increasing gender diversity in the workplace.

These benefits have led to the more widespread adoption of paternity leave policies in other countries.


Just like in Sweden, Norwegian dads share a parental leave benefit with their partners, and the overall period they’re entitled to is divided into two equal parts. Of those two parts, each parent is given either 15 weeks at 100% coverage or 19 weeks at 80% coverage.

To qualify for the parental benefit, you must have had a stable source of pensionable income for at least 6 of the past 10 months, and your income on an annual basis must be equal to at least 53.200 NOK (as of 1 May 2021).

South Korea

Paternity leave rules in South Korea have certainly come a long way in recent times. From just 3 days of unpaid paternity leave in 2008 to up to 10 days of fully paid paternity leave in 2021 – a huge policy improvement for any new dad.

Besides, to encourage men to participate in childcare, the South Korean government introduced the “daddy month” incentive in 2014. It provided second parents (i.e., fathers) with an entire month of fully paid parental leave, which was extended to 3 months in 2016.

What’s more, as part of the regular parental leave, both parents can receive up to 80% of their regular salary for the first 3 months, with a cap of 1.5 million KRW. This is a significant shift for the better from previous years when parents were only paid 40% of their salary while on leave.

How to Make a Paternity Leave Policy

Many companies have implemented successful paternity leave policies. For example, Spotify offers six months of paid parental leave to all full-time employees, regardless of gender. This policy has been credited with improving employee retention and satisfaction. Similarly, Ernst & Young offers new fathers up to 16 weeks of fully paid paternity leave, which has helped the company attract and retain top talent.

Here are some recommendations on what to include in a paternity leave policy:

  • Determine the length of the leave: Take any applicable legal requirements into account and keep in mind the needs of the employee and the business.
  • Define eligibility requirements: Consider such factors as the length of service, employee status, and relationship to the child. Will the policy apply only to full-time employees? What about part-time employees or contractors? Be sure to outline these requirements clearly and fairly.
  • Decide on the amount of compensation: Will the paternity leave be paid or unpaid? Consider offering a percentage of the employee’s regular pay or paid time off that can be used for paternity leave.
  • Develop a notice and approval process: Establish a clear process for employees to request paternity leave, including notice requirements and timelines for approval. Consider having a designated point of contact for employees to discuss their leave options and answer any questions.
  • Develop a plan for coverage: Make sure that the father’s responsibilities are covered while they are on leave. This may involve reassigning tasks or hiring temporary help.
  • Provide job protection: Ensure that employees who take paternity leave are protected from discrimination and retaliation. Consider providing job protection during the leave and upon the employee’s return to work.
  • Offer return-to-work accommodations: Consider offering flexibility upon the employee’s return to work, such as part-time or flexible work schedules, to ease the transition.
  • Communicate the policy to all employees: Be sure to inform all employees of the new paternity leave policy and provide them with the necessary information to take advantage of it.
  • Track usage and evaluate effectiveness: Keep track of how many fathers take advantage of the policy and if it has any impact on employee retention or productivity. Use this information to make any necessary adjustments to the policy over time.


We have seen the many ways that paternity leave can benefit fathers, mothers, employers, and society as a whole. It allows parents to bond with their little ones without compromising their job security, encourages employers to create environments supportive of family life, and promotes gender equality in the workplace.

Now, if you’re ready to make paternity leave a new normal in your company, just use the knowledge gained from this post. And in order to manage employee leave time with ease, consider adopting actiPLANS.

This intuitive resource scheduling solution makes tracking any kind of leave and analyzing staff absence data an effortless process. So, sign up for a free trial today and see how actiPLANS can benefit your company!

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