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Paternity Leave From Work: Advantages and Disadvantages

Nowadays gender roles are changing, and women tend to work as much as men. However, most of responsibility related to children is still brought by mothers who spend all their time caring for the child. It leads women to stress, tiredness, and even mental disorders. Besides, it creates a financial gap between mothers and people without children. According to Furbush (2018), mothers have lower wages and have to choose a part-time job more often compared to people without children. Nowadays, a paternity leave can be an effective option for building a healthier family, as it corresponds to the demands of the changing society.

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Paternity leave can become an option allowing women to work when raising a child. Sometimes women have greater salaries than men, and for financial reasons it would be more efficient if the woman could continue working, and the man could look after child. However, many women still do not have an opportunity to attend their workplace due to the necessity to feed the child. Nevertheless, it can be useful for women who do not practice breastfeeding or who work from home. They still could devote some time to their own needs and to self-development.

Paternity leave could also become a tool that would make women’s and men’s working opportunities more equal. From the point of view of many biased employers, hiring a woman is less efficient than hiring a man, because women take care for their children and have to take some extra days-off to bring the child to hospital, and so on. As Furbush (2018) puts it, men’s participation in raising a child can equalize the gender discrimination. A mandatory paternity leave would be a solution to this problem, as it would make men and women equal in this issue.

From the point of view of an employer, paternity leaves decrease the efficiency of business, as a man has an opportunity to miss working days while the company has to pay for it. However, a paternity leave can increase the productivity of an employer, as it allows to keep the balance between life and work. A person can easily manage the roles of a father and an employee, decreasing the tension within the family, which has a positive impact on their psychological state and overall productivity. Besides, during the leave fathers can better cope with the lack of sleep associated with care after a newborn. An employee experiencing sleep deprivation would be less efficient, so from the point of view of the company effectiveness it is better to let the person have some rest than to put at risk their health and productivity.

From the father’s point of view, getting a paternity leave can lead to career problems. Men are sometimes afraid that a boss would not approve an employee who takes a leave instead of working. Nevertheless, according to the Association for Psychological Science (2017), men raising children even benefit from a ‘fatherhood bonus”, or a salary boost, compared to men without children. The phenomenon of a fatherhood bonus is an opposite one to the “motherhood penalty”, which makes the mothers get fewer promotions and lower salaries in comparison to the women without children. It means that getting a paternity leave can be even more justified from the financial and career point of view than a maternity leave.

Paternity leave can also decrease the rate of postnatal depression that is widespread among the mothers. According to the research by Peng and others (2021), the main caregiver experiences great stress. In China, almost 25% of women practicing a “doing-the-month” tradition (which means staying at home and caring after the child for one month) have the signs of postnatal depression. It can be argued that such tradition is aimed to give the mother support, as she does not have to work and can give all her attention to the child, but in the last years the rate of postnatal depression increased. It can mean that in the changing society a woman should have more opportunities than just taking care after the child.

Another advantage of a paternity leave is an opportunity to build a strong boundary between the family members. Even if it is sometimes claimed that a child needs father’s figure only in a more adult age, still it seems that young children start to form the background of their personality from the very early age (Petts & Knoester, 2020). Thus, the presence of a caring father can make a child more psychologically stable and to lay the ground for its future stability.

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Paternity leave is also can be used a way to increase the father’s self-esteem. In many countries, although, it is still stigmatized and it is considered to be exclusively “women’s job” to take care for the child. Instead of being proud of having a family and being a strong supporter for it, men are often afraid of prejudice. Active engagement in the parental activities in the early childhood is not seemed as part of men gender socialization. In fact, according to Petts and Knoester (2020), the time devoted to a newborn may even strengthen a man’s identity. It gives the person an opportunity to explore the role of a father. A paternal leave allows to acquire the skills that would make the person feel competent in this sphere and to feel engaged.

Besides, the leave can improve the father’s relationships not only with the child, but also with the wife. Delivering a child puts families into the state of crisis, which is very difficult to overcome. Women often feel that the load of parenting is spread unfairly between mothers and fathers. An image of a happy family which is widely explored in the marketing, advertisements, and media, turns out to be artificial. It leads to the conflicts between the parents, decreases their mental state, and even ruins the family. It could be argued that a woman in the state of stress and postnatal depression would like to spend more time alone, without contacting the husband, but actually women prefer to share their new responsibilities with the partner. A research by Petts and Knoester (2020) prove this statement, as the statistics revealed that the quality of relationships within the couple depended on the paternity leave. The longer was the paternity leave, the better were the relationships within the family. It is connected with the fact that the leave gives fathers an opportunity to share the household responsibilities and to support the wife psychologically.

Besides, a paternity leave can be an instrument of changing the patterns within the society and overcoming the biases associated with gender roles. The model of a patriarchal family where a man is a “breadwinner” and the woman is a “caregiver” nowadays is less actual than centuries ago. For example, Mark Zukerberg, Facebook CEO, took a two-month paternity leave, while Yahoo! CEO, Melissa Mayer, announced that she would take only a limited leave for two weeks in order to devote more time to the career. Nevertheless, such shifts in gender roles can seem to be easy to do for the people who have power, great responsibility and financial abilities to hire a person who would take care for the child. For ordinary people it can be difficult to change their lifestyle and to break stereotypes. Still, if people would like to change the situation, they can start with themselves. Spreading more information about paternity leaves and giving an example of changing the strict patterns can bring the difference to the society norms. If paternity leaves will become a norm, it will give people the choice to behave in a manner they want and to make their life more flexible and independent on others’ opinion.

In summary, paternity leave is an effective option and should become a mandatory practice for the number of reasons. It allows people to build healthier families, decreasing the rate of postnatal depression. Paternity leave helps to create the boundaries between fathers and their children, which lays a foundation for the child’s future success. Besides, it can become the factor of equalizing gender opportunities, which is beneficial for people’s development. It also allows the fathers to take an active part in building the family and to keep balance between the roles of an employee and a parent.


Association for Psychological Science (2017). Turning the “Motherhood penalty” into a “Breadwinner bonus”. Web.

Furbush, A. (2018). The Effects of Paternity Leave on Women’s Labor Market Outcomes. Issues in Political Economy, 27(2), 39–78. Web.

Peng, K., Zhou, L., Liu, X., Ouyang, M., Gong, J., Wang, Y., Shi, Y., Chen, J., Li, Y., Sun, M., Wang, Y., Lin, W., Yuan, S., Wu, B., & Si, L. (2021). Who is the main caregiver of the mother during the doing-the-month: is there an association with postpartum depression? BMC Psychiatry, 21(1), 1–8. Web.

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Petts, R. J., & Knoester, C. (2020). Are Parental Relationships Improved if Fathers Take Time Off of Work After the Birth of a Child? Social Forces, 98(3), 1223–1256. Web.

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