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The Best Places for Dads to Work - And What You Can Learn From Them

POSTED BY
Patrick Ball on May 10, 2016 11:06 AM

Fatherly, the online platform/digital playbook for modern dads, just dropped its second annual list of the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads.  Guess we know what’s going to dominate the beer fridge conversation this afternoon.   

The biggest takeaway—beyond the obvious awesomeness that there’s a list dedicated to working dads—is how the composition reflects progress toward paid family leave. And that’s the headline Fatherly, Fast Company and certainly many others will be running with over the next few days.  With good reason.

When Fatherly’s list debuted in 2015, about half of the 50 Best companies offered between one and two weeks of paternity leave. Among this year’s featured companies, the average is 7.5 weeks; 35 percent of companies featured provide 6 to 8 weeks and 12 offer between 10 weeks an entire year.

This, of course, comes as the United States lags woefully behind the rest of the industrialized world when it comes to providing paid family leave for new parents. Currently, only about 12 percent of private sector workers have access to paid leave through their employers. For companies competing for top talent, and Milleninals especially, offering maternity or paternity leave is a smart talent acquisition strategy.

But the story—whether we’re talking about Fatherly’s list specifically or being a great place for dads more generally—doesn’t begin and end with paternity leave. So what else can we learn from looking at the Best Places to Work for New Dads? Let’s take a look.  

  1. Flexibility Rules
    Spotify skyrocketed to the second spot on the list after not making the cut last year. The impressive debut was on the strength of its flexible approach to paternity leave. New dads can use the 24 weeks anytime up to their child’s third birthday. How serious is State Street about erasing the stigma from flex work? Managers at the Boston-based financial services company are required to approach their reports about flexible work arrangements so employees don’t have to feel intimidated about asking. 

  1. Transition Support is Key
    Pinterest tops off four months of paid leave with a fifth “transition” month during which dads can work a reduced schedule for full pay. The company also boasts support groups and programs to help new parents reintegrate with their teams. Speaking of support groups, Twitter runs “Dads On Leave” roundtables that bring together new dads going out on or returning from leave to swap stories and share advice. Goldman Sachs not only has a Working Parent Forum as one of its many affinity groups, but the firm also provides coordinators to help fathers-to-be arrange flex time, plan leave and maximize family-friendly benefits the company offers.

  2. Child Care Assistance is Essential
    Google, a fixture of lists like Fatherly’s, is lauded here for its child care programs which go well beyond center-based options. The tech giant offers one-on-one consultations with experts to help figure out options, discounted nanny placements and subsidized in-home or in-center backup care. Akamai, a Boston-based tech company, also supplements its paternity leave with unlimited PTO and family-care benefits. In Fatherly’s words, “To further assist new parents, the company offers free premium memberships to Care.com and augments childcare assistance with an au pair program discount as well.”

    Another company that puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to child care assistance is S&P. The company allows employees to contribute $5,000 pre-tax to a flexible spending account for child care expenses; for employees who make less than $85,000, it will match the first $1,000 contribution. That’s a meaningful difference, when child care – at an average of $18,000 per year – is the largest household expense for most American families.

  3. Left Coast Tech Still Leads
    In recent years, studies have shown time and again that modern dads are taking more active roles in sharing breadwinning and caregiving responsibilities. Fatherly’s list is the latest example that companies are responding. That said, Silicon Valley is still a clear leader in this regard. Thirty percent of the companies on Fatherly’s list are from the tech industry, and 18 of the companies are based in California. The good news is that other industries are catching on. Finance, media, legal and business services are gaining ground, with each industry placing more than 5 companies on the list.

The most important takeaway is that the time has come for employers to start seeing dads the way they see themselves: As caregivers. Companies that don’t are very quickly going to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

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