Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement on Friday and it might be his most influential contribution ever since he launched the social media giant. At least that’s what the media seems to think.
- Mark Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, is pregnant, and Mark wants to take 2 months paternity leave
- Because of his position, his decision could influence the way American parents see parental paid leave
- Zuckerberg sets a positive example among executive parents
Zuckerberg has made the decision to take a two-month paternity leave, and the Washington post wrote that “it’s hard to overstate what a big deal this is.” Even though the young CEO’s choice is directly linked to his family’s needs, it’s hard not to see its importance for all U.S. parents, given his stature in the public eye.
In other words, Zuckerberg devoting time to his family sets a new expectation that other parents – and companies – should follow. It’s time people stopped mistaking workaholism for dedication, as many parents do today.
Choosing to take such a sizeable leave showed that where Zuckerberg’s ultimate loyalty and concern lies – family life is supposed to trump all, right? The announcement is also significant because even though paternity leave is rare, executives taking time off for parenthood is even rarer.
Back in September, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer had decided to take only “limited time away and working throughout” her pregnancy, which sparked a different kind of reaction among working mothers. Mayer should have been a better role model for women in professional and executive positions, thinks the media, setting an example of how to put family first.
According to the American Family Survey, American parents agree more paid leave should be available, regardless of their eagerness to take time off post-pregnancy. Respondents thought that five months paid leave for women and four months for men would be enough.
Do you think five months is a lot? It’s still nowhere nearly the maternity leave available in other countries. Norway is at the top with 70 weeks of paid leave, followed by Germany with 44 and Canada providing 35. Take these numbers and compare them with the zero weeks Americans get – unless their employer is very generous, that is.
In his Facebook announcement, Zuckerberg also talks the benefits of spending more time with the family after a baby’s birth, pointing out that outcomes are far better for the children whose parents had taken time to be with their newborns.
Image Source: Fortune