A mother’s lifetime income increases when dads take paternity leave

I had a bit of a moment yesterday...

I was having coffee with Jack Lim from One Championship, who's just upgraded his hip and, in turn, spent five weeks at home being a dad and husband. Then I met with Dan Robins, APAC head of data and programmatic at Spotify, who has two months remaining of his six-month paternity leave (go Spotify!) and is just about to take a campervan from Sydney to Perth with his young family. The two chats made me reminisce about my two-week paternity leave (five times the norm in SG, thank you APD!), that I took earlier last year, as well as the three weeks I just had with my family in Australia.

The ‘moment’ was to do with the fact that all of us were totally frothing on being able to have that special time with our kids.

Now, this might seem like a ‘derrr’ moment, but according to the Boston College Center for Work & Family, a staggering 76% of fathers ‘take only one week of leave time or less following the birth or adoption of a new child’. Whoa.

So, I started thinking. Why don't more of us take as much time as possible to be Dads, not just providers? Is it just the money? Is it the fear of not knowing what to do? Is it the fear of having to work 24/7?

Well, as it turns out, it seems to be a mix of the three; the thing that totally blew my mind was a stat that Dan mentioned during our chat. A stat that he came across during one of his other projects (Seat At The Table). A stat that NOBODY is talking about; that "In Sweden, future income for new mothers rises by 7% on average for every month of paternity leave her spouse uses” the full article can be found here.

Before you say, yeah but that’s Sweden, the World Economic Forum has released a report stating that countries that even just offer paternity leave are ahead of the pack when it comes to the pay gap. Imagine the results if we could increase the amount of leave actually taken!

Now, I’m not sure if this is ‘peak entitlement’; that simply by having special time with our kids, men are financially benefiting our incredible wives? Or, to reference Neal Moore’s post this week, it’s using our influence to have a positive effect on the pay gap? Either way, surely this is enough of a reason (as if you needed more), to take that extra time with your offspring; not only for the emotional benefit of all involved but for the financial benefit of your household and by doing your part to help close the pay gap between men and women.

I, for one, vote for fewer meetings and more feedings with our little ones, and now you’ve got even more of a reason to do so!

Tobias Wilson is the Singapore chief executive officer of APD, a GrowthOps company.

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