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How to Implement a Successful Paternity Leave Policy in Your Organization

Employers who want to take care of their teams are seeing the benefits of paternity leave. Dive into more about why and how to create a paternity leave policy for your business.

Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach
Jan 16, 20245 minutes
Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach

Amanda Beach is a writer, editor, and project manager with 10 years of experience in tech and HR. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

32 postsAuthor's posts
1920x1080 Implementing a paternity leave policy

In recent years, there’s been a growing recognition of the importance of paternity leave in the workplace. Companies are making more of an effort to implement new paternity leave policies to support their employees and promote a healthy work-life balance.

But what exactly is paternity leave, and why is it important? Here, we’ll define and dig into the benefits of paternity leave. And not only that — we’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to implement a paternity leave policy in your organization.

What is Paternity Leave?

First, let’s define this type of leave. Paternity leave specifically allows fathers to take time off from work to care for their newborn child or newly adopted child. This form of parental leave is considered separate from maternity leave, which is typically earmarked for mothers. It’s worth noting that some employers choose to implement parental leave, a type of leave policy that applies broadly to all new parents.

The amount of time given for paternity leave can range from a few days to several weeks or months, depending on a company’s policy and the country’s laws. In the United States, there aren’t any federal laws requiring companies to provide paternity leave.

However, it’s important to note that some states (California, Delaware, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, New Jersey, Colorado, Rhode Island, Washington, Maryland, Connecticut, and Washington D.C.) have their own laws that mandate it. With this in mind, employers should do their research to understand what’s required in the state or states where their business operates.

The Benefits of Paternity Leave

Now that we’ve established what paternity leave is, let’s dive into the benefits of offering this type of leave to your employees.

Promotes Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest benefits of paternity leave is that it promotes a healthy work-life balance. By allowing fathers to take time off to care for their children, employers enable their employees to bond with their new children and support their partners during the postpartum or post-adoption period.

Having the time for these important parts of life can make it easier for fathers to return to work. When employees are able to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively, you’re more likely to lead to a happier and more fulfilled workforce.

Supports Gender Equality

Another benefit of paternity leave (and the more broad parental leave) is how it supports gender equality in the workplace. Allowing both parents the same leave helps promote a more equal division of childcare responsibilities.

Offering paternity leave — in addition to maternity leave — can also lead to a more diverse and inclusive workplace. It allows for a more equal distribution of responsibilities between men and women. And who doesn’t want to level the playing field?

Improves Employee Retention and Loyalty

Companies that offer paternity leave are more likely to retain their employees and foster loyalty. By providing support for new fathers with paid time off, employers show that they value their employees and their personal lives.

For employers, taking action like this has more than one benefit. Offering paternity leave can lead to higher employee satisfaction and lower turnover rates, which is great in itself. But in the long run, it can also save companies money. That certainly sounds like a win-win!

Steps to Implement a Paternity Leave Policy

After learning about the benefits of paternity leave, are you eager to take action at your company? Let’s dive into the steps employers should take to implement a paternity leave policy.

Research and Understand the Laws

Before you implement a paternity leave policy in your organization, it’s important to research and understand the laws in your country or state. As we mentioned earlier, some states and countries have laws that mandate a certain amount of paternity leave, while others — like the United States — don’t have any federal laws at all.

In the United States, however, there is one law that mandates leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child. However, this leave is unpaid and only applies to companies with 50 or more employees.

Determine the Length of Leave

Your next step is to determine how much time your company will offer for paternity leave. This can vary greatly depending on your company’s policies and the laws in your country or state.

If you want a benchmark, look to other organizations in your industry to see what they’re offering. Cisco, for example, is a large company that offers 65 days of paid paternity leave (equal to the length of paid maternity leave for eligible employees). Thumbtack, an example of a smaller organization, offers 60 days of paid paternity leave (compared to 105 days for maternity leave).

Decide on the Eligibility Criteria

Once you’ve decided on the length of leave you’ll offer, eligibility criteria is the next decision employers should make. It’s important to establish — and communicate — clear eligibility criteria for paternity leave to help avoid any future confusion or misunderstandings.

So what eligibility criteria should you consider? Eligibility criteria can include factors like length of employment, role, and whether the employee is an adoptive parent. At the end of the day, determining criteria is at the discretion of the employer, so it’s important to carefully consider what criteria you’ll include in your company’s policy.

Create a Plan for Coverage

After deciding leave length and eligibility, planning for coverage is the next step. When an employee takes paternity leave, it’s important to have a plan in place for covering their workload. This can involve temporarily assigning their responsibilities to another employee or hiring a temporary replacement.

However you decide to handle coverage, having a plan in place before an employee’s leave begins can help ensure their workload is still managed effectively in their absence.

Communicate the Policy to Employees

Once you’ve established your paternity leave policy, your next step is to communicate it to your employees. This can be done through an email, a company-wide meeting, or by including it in your employee handbook.

Whichever way you choose to communicate it, it’s important that you clearly outline the eligibility criteria, length of leave, and any other important details employees will need to know.

Train Managers and HR Staff

Communication and training often go hand in hand when implementing new policies. After you’ve communicated the new paternity leave to your employees, it’s important to train managers and HR staff on the policy. They should be familiar with the eligibility criteria, length of leave, and how to handle any requests for paternity leave.

By training your staff appropriately, you’ll help ensure the policy is understood and implemented consistently and fairly across the organization. Again, an equal playing field is always a good thing.

Monitor and Evaluate the Policy

You now offer paternity leave at your company — congrats! But your work isn’t quite done yet. After implementing the policy, it’s important to monitor and evaluate its effectiveness. Why?

At the end of the day, your paternity leave policy should provide value to your employees. If it’s not delivering that value, you risk losing the retention and loyalty that an effective leave policy can provide. The best way to determine your leave policy’s effectiveness is to go to the source: your employees.

Gathering feedback from employees can provide valuable insights into how effective your leave policy is, as well as tracking retention rates after the policy implementation. Together, these evaluations can inform any adjustments you need to make to your policy so it better meets the needs of your employees and the organization.

With all this in mind, it’s clear that offering paternity leave can have numerous benefits for both an organization and its employees. By promoting work-life balance, supporting gender equality, and improving employee retention, paternity leave can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce. By taking the right steps and carefully considering the laws and needs of your organization, you can successfully implement a paternity leave policy that truly supports your employees.

How Justworks Can Help Employers Manage Leave

If you’ve implemented a parental leave policy at your company — be it paternity leave, maternity leave, or the broader parental leave — Justworks can make managing leave easier. With our user-friendly HR tools, leave requests, approvals, and tracking are all streamlined within the easy-to-use platform.

Still working on your policy? Justworks has your back there, too. Our certified HR Consultants are ready to provide support through best practices around managing your policies — and your people. Ready to partner with an HR solution that has your back? Get started with Justworks today!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Amanda Beach
Amanda Beach
Jan 16, 20245 minutes

Amanda Beach is a writer, editor, and project manager with 10 years of experience in tech and HR. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

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