Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday that he is planning to take two months off work for his paternity leave when his daughter is born, sending a strong message as one of the most influential executives in the world, and signalling the importance of family time.
Facebook CEO to take extended paternity leave
Many companies in Silicon Valley have adopted similarly generous paid leave and other benefits in moves to attract top talent, but in fact many employees don’t take up the offers for fear of missing out on promotions or even falling behind.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and allows its US employees up to four months of paid maternity or paternity leave. This leave can be used at once or during the first year of the child’s life. Zuckerberg announced in July of this year that he and Priscilla Chan were expecting a baby.
Studies, such as the one carried out by the Society for Human Resource Management, have found that 21% of employers surveyed offered paid maternity leave, and a slightly lower figure (17%) offered paid paternity leave.
“This is a very personal decision”, said Zuckerberg on his Facebook page (highlighting the irony of its personal nature by announcing to the world), as well as pictures of a baby carrier and his dog. “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families”, he said.
Zuckerberg has not yet said who will run Facebook while he is on paternity leave. It’s widely thought that Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, who currently oversees the company’s advertising, will take on the leadership role.
The decision to take such a long period of paternity leave is quite unusual among top tech executives. Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer took just two weeks’ leave when her child was born in 2012, and for the birth of her twin girls, she said she plans only limited maternity leave and will be working throughout.
Zuckerberg’s decision generated more than 50,000 likes in just an hour and almost 3,000 comments. Many of those comments said it was a positive move about parental leave policies.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.