Facebook Chief Executive Officer and founder Mark Zuckerberg dived head-first into the growing debate over work-life balance as he announced plans to take two months of paternity leave after his daughter is born. “This is a very personal decision, and I’ve decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.”
Although it was a personal announcement, the statement by one of the world’s most powerful business executives will no doubt be seen as an endorsement of the idea that everyone—no matter how senior—should take time off after a baby is born. The debate over the need for work-life balance has raged particularly strongly in Silicon Valley, where tech firms have been rushing to increase benefits in a bid to recruit talent, notes the New York Times. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix unveiled an unlimited-leave policy for new mothers and fathers in the first year of a child’s birth or adoption.
Facebook offers four months of paid maternity or paternity leave for all its employees in the United States, which is very generous by American standards. A 2015 study found that only 21 percent of employers offered paid maternity leave and only 17 percent had paid paternity leave, notes Reuters.