Parental leave: don’t forget dads

Parental leave: don’t forget dads

The number of men in Canada taking parental leave may be on the rise but according to Statistics Canada only 11% of men outside of Quebec take all or part of their parental leave requirements. A whopping 56% of new dads in Quebec took leave in 2006.

Nora Spinks, CEO of The Vanier Institute of the family says more men are taking their share of parental leave concurrently with their partner and says this shift might be due to increased involvement by new father’s and the fact that baby boomers spending longer in the labour force.

“Historically grandmothers were the ones supporting new mums, but grandmothers are still in the paid labour force so dads are stepping in.” 

From a work-life balance perspective, there may be good reason for HR to encourage more men to take parental leave. A study conducted by the US based Families and Work Institute found that in dual-income couples men were more likely to feel conflicted between their career and home life. Studies have also shown that greater involvement from the father results in better cognitive development in infants, higher educational attainment and fewer behavioural problems in the teen years. Now, who wouldn’t want that?

While most Canadians are entitled to 37 weeks shared parental leave (employees in Newfoundland, Labrador and Prince Edward Island are entitled to 35 weeks, while in Quebec it’s a whopping 52 weeks), offering parental leave top up payments along with flexible time for new dads is also a valuable retention and recruitment strategy.

Canada’s top employers for new dads:

Desjardins Group offers maternity and parental leave top-up payments.

Georgian College offers a variety of work options including telecommuting and reduced summer work hours.

HP Advanced Solutions provides parental leave top-up payments to new fathers and adoptive parents.

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada offers health benefits during maternity and parental leave.

National Energy Board offers flexible hours, telecommuting and accrued days-off.

Office of the Auditor General of Canada offers a variety of alternative working arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, and shortened and compressed work week options.

Ontario Public Service offers parental leave top-up payments (to 93% of salary for 32 weeks).

Simon Fraser University offers daycare facilities onsite.

Toronto Hydro Corporation offers health benefit coverage during maternity and parental leave.

Vancouver City Savings Credit Union provides parental and maternity leave top-up payments (up to 85% of the employee’s salary for 52 weeks).