Up to a year of paid leave. On-site child care. Flexible work schedules. These are some of the paternity benefits that top companies offer employees, according to a list released Tuesday of the “50 Best Places to Work for New Dads.”
These companies are angling to attract and retain a new generation of male employees that, research shows, are taking on more child-care responsibilities at home and making work-family balance a bigger priority.
The ranking, published by the parenting website Fatherly, was led by Netflix, which offers up to 52 weeks of paid time off for all new parents. Coming in second was Etsy, the online platform that links customers to craftspeople and offers 25 weeks of paid leave.
Rounding out the top five: American Express, which offers five months of paid leave, flextime and a “Caregiver of the Year Award”; Spotify, which provides six months of paid leave and a gradual return back to full-time status; and Facebook, which provides 17 weeks of paid leave and a financial benefit to defray baby-related expenses.
Three years ago, when Fatherly published its first list, the average paternity leave was four weeks. This year, only two companies on the list have a four-week leave. The rest have expanded their family leave policies. The change shows a major shift in how corporate America is viewing the needs of fathers and their families, said Simon Isaacs, co-founder and chief content officer for Fatherly, which is geared to millennial dads.
The United States is the only developed country without a national policy providing paid leave for new parents. Federal law ensures that workers at companies with 50 or more employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Only 14 percent of private-sector workers have access to any paid family leave, and most plans are focused on maternity leave.
Although only a small fraction of Americans work in major companies, the impact of employers’ policies on paternity leave can have widespread influence, Isaacs said. “These companies are sending a very important signal to smaller businesses and to policymakers that supporting workers in this way is good business,” Isaacs said, noting that these are successful companies with aggressive earning goals.
To compile the list, Fatherly worked with the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project; Scott Behson, a business professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University; and PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, an advocacy group that publishes information about employers’ paid-leave policies.
The ranking is limited to companies that have at least 1,000 employees and offer a minimum of four weeks of paid paternity leave. They were evaluated based on a list of criteria, including availability of corporate flex-time, access to on-site child care and job security for parents.
Technology firms have in recent years dominated the benefits race in efforts to recruit and retain talented employees, but this list of dad-friendly workplaces also includes law firms and companies in retail, finance and other industries.
New York-based Deloitte — No. 10 on the list — offers an average of four months of paid leave and covers child-care expenses, including for summer programs and before- and after-care. Discovery Communications offers 12 weeks of paid paternity leave and classes in “baby basics” and infant CPR. And yogurt-maker Chobani — No. 47 — offers six weeks of paid leave and an on-site “Crew Kids Ahoy day camp” on days school is closed.
Many companies offer financial assistance for adoption, fertility treatments or surrogacy costs. Some companies, including Starbucks and Amazon, have begun to extend benefits to their hourly workers, although they tend to be more limited. Nearly all the companies on the list offer flexible work policies that enable employees to work off-site, and about half provide some kind of subsidy for child care. About 15 percent, including Patagonia, offer child care on site.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, a Washington-based law firm, offers six weeks of paid leave to fathers and also has an on-site child-care center that is managed by the firm. The firm ranked 38 on the list.
Such benefits have been a particularly helpful retention tool for new dads, said Geoffrey Michael, a partner at the firm. “Becoming a parent is a huge life change, and it can be very disruptive to your work,” he said. “If these policies can keep someone happy, they will be more likely to stay and be more productive.”