Unum Research Spotlights State of Parental Leave for New Dads

Fathers are taking more parental leave, but workplace stigma still exists

As families across the country prepare to celebrate Father’s Day, new research from employee benefits leader Unum, highlights advances and challenges for dads in today’s workplace.

Unum research spotlights challenges and stigma around parental leave for new fathers

An online poll of 500 new U.S. parents (half of them fathers) conducted in March showed that among new dads:

  • 36% never discussed their parental leave benefits with human resources. However, of those who did, 89% say they were involved or very involved in the development of their leave plan
  • 62% say their employer offers paid parental leave
  • 50% spent 30 days or less away from the workplace when they had or adopted their child, while an additional 32% spent 31-60 days, and 17% spent 61-90 days away from work

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The same Unum poll asked new parents several questions around parental leave stigma in their workplace, with stigma defined as parents being passed over for promotions, being looked down on for taking time off, and other direct consequences of being out of the office to care for a child. Of new fathers, 37% said they feel there’s a stigma in their workplace around new parents, with 80% of them experiencing it firsthand.

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“While more dads say their workplace offers parental leave, it’s clear that both new mothers and fathers are encountering stigma about actually taking time off,” said Angel Bennett, Director in the Leave Management Center at Unum. “For HR, this means having an open dialogue within the workplace, encouraging managers to lead by example in taking parental leave, and supporting new moms and dads in the development of their leave and return-to-work plans.”

From navigating benefits to developing a leave plan and returning to work, juggling new parent duties with job responsibilities can be challenging. To help new parents navigate this often-confusing process, Unum has developed Bringing Up Baby: A Guide to Workplace Parental Leave Resources, which contains basic tips, timing and conversation starters to engage with managers and HR representatives.

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