More than half of working dads (59 percent) would not take paternity leave if it were offered, according to the latest Workplace Insights survey by Adecco USA and just in time for Father's Day. Among those who would not take paternity leave, reasons cited include: fear it would harm their career (31 percent); being too busy at work to be away for an extended period of time off (28 percent) and being depended on too much by co-workers and clients (28 percent). The top reason: 46 percent say they're unable to afford paternity leave even if it did pay partial salary (which is rare in the U.S.).
Some key findings include:
Battle for Balance: Compared to working moms, do working dads struggle less with work/life balance? Half (50 percent) of working moms seem to think so, compared to 29 percent of working dads.
Family First?: A quarter (25 percent) of working dads say they usually dedicate more time to their work life, while 11 percent of working moms claim the same.
Fatherhood Fears: Some dads who wouldn't take paternity leave say that they don't think they'd do a good job caring for the baby (12 percent) or that they don't have the patience to spend that much time with the baby (8 percent).
"Even if some companies are offering paternity leave, it has yet to become a society standard," says Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer, Adecco USA. "Our survey found that 70 percent of dads think that being a father also makes them a better employee. But fathers probably face more pressure to stay on the job more than mothers do when a baby comes along. Now it's the employers' turn to do a better job of implementing benefits and policies that allow for dads to achieve sustainable work-life balance."
Seventy-two percent of dads named the ability to work flexible hours as one of the most appealing benefits. Here are some tips on how companies can help dads achieve balance:
Talk to Your New Dads: Make sure your employee knows that you understand, appreciate and will accommodate their additional family responsibilities. Work with dads to negotiate a working environment that best suits their personal and professional needs.
Focus on Fathers: Though typically thought of as maternal benefits, telecommuting and flex-time allows for new dads to maintain their roles as productive employees. This is significant for companies that want to preserve employee satisfaction and retention.
Make Policies Conventional: A new dad's struggle to balance work and family can be avoided by making paternal benefits known company-wide so they become part of the norm; once it's accepted, dads may be less likely to feel uncomfortable taking advantage of these benefits.
ADECCO WORKPLACE INSIGHTS SURVEY METHODOLOGY:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Adecco USA between May 9 and May 11, 2007 among 223 adult men (aged 18 and over) who are employed full-time and/or part-time and parents or legal guardians of at least one child. Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. With a pure probability sample of 223, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 10 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples may be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.