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  1. Blog
  2. Research
  3. May 27, 2019

97% of Women Say Fathers Should Take Their Paternity Leave

The majority of men who have access to paternity leave take less than two weeks

97% of Women Say Fathers Should Take Their Paternity Leave

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

According to a 2018 study by Ball State University, only 14 percent of American fathers who take parental leave use more than two weeks.

While the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers 12 weeks of unpaid leave to workers at companies with more than 50 employees, there are no provisions at the federal level that offer leave, paid or unpaid, to all workers. Companies are increasingly moving to provide parental leave, though the United States lags leagues behind the rest of the world.

Despite the availability to some, fathers are not taking time away from work to care for children.

InHerSight asked 3,000 women how important they feel it is for men to take the paternity leave offered to them. Seventy-five percent of women consider it very important that fathers take paternity leave when available.

The importance of paternity leave

When fathers take time away from work following the birth or adoption of a child, it contributes to eliminating the stereotype that childcare and family obligations are work reserved only for women. Even if both the mother and father work full-time jobs, women take on a larger share of childcare duties.

The terms motherhood penalty and fatherhood bonus refer to the fact that for every child a woman has, she earns 4 percent less, and for every child a man has, he earns 6 percent more. This occurs, in large part, because women are more likely than men are to take time off or even leave the workforce when they become parents and are also more likely to handle the day-to-day obligations of parenthood, like picking up kids from school, or staying home when a child is sick.


Survey of 3,737 women in April 2019.

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Photo of Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Emily was previously on staff at InHerSight, where she researched and wrote about data that described women in the workplace, specifically societal barriers to advancement, and workplace rights. Her bylines include Fast Company and The Glossary Co.

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