Best places for dads to work in

Top companies in the United States are offering generous paternity benefits to attract and retain male employees

NEW YORK • There is a new Best Places to Work list.

This time, it is for dads, with perks such as up to a year of paid leave, on-site childcare and flexible work schedules.

These are some of the paternity benefits that top companies in the United States offer employees, according to a list released on Tuesday of the 50 Best Places to Work for New Dads.

These companies are angling to attract and retain a new generation of male employees that, research shows, are taking on more child-care responsibilities at home and making work-family balance a bigger priority.

The ranking, published by the parenting website Fatherly, was led by Netflix.

The content-streaming company offers up to 52 weeks of paid time off for all new parents.

Becoming a parent is a huge life change and it can be disruptive to your work. If these policies can keep someone happy, they will be more likely to stay and be more productive.''

MR GEOFFREY MICHAEL, a partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, a Washington-based law firm, which offers paid leave to fathers and has an on-site childcare centre

Coming in second is Etsy, the online platform that links customers to craftspeople, which offers 25 weeks of paid leave.

Rounding out the top five:

• American Express, which offers five months of paid leave, flexi-time and a "Caregiver of the Year Award";

•Spotify, which provides six months of paid leave and a gradual return back to full-time status; and

•Facebook, which provides 17 weeks of paid leave and a financial benefit to defray baby-related expenses.

Three years ago, when Fatherly published its first list, the average paternity leave was four weeks.

This year, only one company on the list has a four-week leave.

The rest have expanded their family-leave policies.

The change shows a major shift in how corporate America is viewing the needs of fathers and their families, said Mr Simon Isaacs, co- founder and chief content officer for Fatherly, a site geared to millennial dads.

The US is the only developed country without a national policy providing paid leave for new parents.

Federal law ensures that workers at companies with 50 or more employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Only 14 per cent of private-sector workers have access to any paid family leave and most plans are focused on maternity leave.

While only a small fraction of Americans work in major companies, the impact of employers' policies on paternity leave can have widespread influence, Mr Isaacs said.

"These companies are sending a very important signal to smaller businesses and to policymakers that supporting workers in this way is good business," Mr Isaacs said, noting that these are successful companies with aggressive earning goals.

To compile the list, Fatherly worked with the Wharton Work/ Life Integration Project; Scott Behson, a business professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University; and PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States, an advocacy group that publishes information about employers' paid-leave policies.

The ranking is limited to companies that have at least 1,000 employees and offer a minimum of four weeks of paid paternity leave.

They were evaluated based on a list of criteria, including availability of corporate flexi-time and access to on-site childcare.

Technology firms have, in recent years, dominated the benefits race in efforts to recruit and retain talented employees, but this list of dad-friendly workplaces also includes law firms and companies in retail and finance.

New York-based Deloitte - No. 10 on the list - offers an average of four months of paid leave and covers childcare expenses, including for summer programmes and before- and after-care.

Discovery Communications offers 12 weeks of paid paternity leave and classes in "baby basics" and infant CPR.

Yogurt-maker Chobani - No. 47 - offers six weeks of paid leave and an on-site "Crew Kids Ahoy day camp" on days that school is closed.

Many companies offer financial assistance for adoption, fertility treatments or surrogacy costs.

Some companies, including Starbucks and Amazon, have begun to extend benefits to their hourly workers, though they tend to be more limited.

Nearly all the companies on the list offer flexible work policies that enable employees to work off-site and about half provide some kind of subsidy for childcare.

About 15 per cent offer childcare on site.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, a Washington-based law firm, offers six weeks of paid leave to fathers and also has an on-site childcare centre that is managed by the firm.

The firm ranked No. 38 on the list.

Such benefits have been a particularly helpful retention tool for new dads, said Mr Geoffrey Michael, a partner at the firm.

"Becoming a parent is a huge life change and it can be disruptive to your work," he said.

"If these policies can keep someone happy, they will be more likely to stay and be more productive."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 07, 2017, with the headline 'Best places for dads to work in'. Print Edition | Subscribe