One experience common to all new parents is that one-year mark — the point where you look back and think, “Holy crap, a lot has changed.” Not to turn your precious family milestone into a metaphor, but the same thing can be said about the long march toward paid family leave in this country. While the U.S. remains stubbornly in the dark ages on this issue (Everyone together now: “We’re one of only 3 countries in the world, along with Papua New Guinea and Oman, that doesn’t have a national paid family leave policy!”), the past year has seen remarkable progress, and expecting and new fathers in particular have it better than ever.
When Fatherly’s 50 Best Places To Work For New Dads was compiled in 2015, nearly half the companies featured offered between one and 2 weeks of paid leave to fathers. Twelve months later, 7.5 weeks is the average, 35 percent of companies offer between 6 and 8 weeks, and another 12 companies offer between 10 weeks and a full year. This has been sparked in part by a talent acquisition arms race in the tech industry, where it’s an article of faith among coveted millennial hires that they’ll be allowed to participate in their children’s first months of, you know, life. Now companies are starting to beat their chests about how much they don’t want you to work after your kid is born — just ask Mark Zuckerberg
But if progress on paid parental leave was limited to huge companies with zippy logos in the Greater Bay Area, it wouldn’t really be progress. Over 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S. have fewer than 500 employees, and the smaller a company’s workforce, the more challenging it can be to accommodate new fathers. Still, scrappy, innovative small businesses all over the country are figuring it out. Change.org, an online platform dedicated to advancing social causes, only has 300 employees, but all of them get 18 weeks of paid parental leave if they choose to have a kid. This report doesn’t just celebrate the companies employing thousands that comprise the 50 Best — it shines a light on companies like Change.org that are making paid leave work for everyone.
In 2016, it doesn’t matter if you work in finance, pharmaceuticals, tech, or retail: more men are demanding that companies take their role as fathers seriously, and more industries are responding. And they’re not just coughing up a few extra weeks to guys when their kid is born. Whether it’s innovative policies that encourage leave in chunks through a child’s first year, or companies operating 4-day work weeks to increase their employees’ family time, the companies on these lists are taking the lead in helping this country finally start to get the idea of a family-friendly workplace right.
Who knows? With their help, we just might leave Papua New Guinea and Oman in the dust.