Paternity leave is becoming an increasingly relevant issue in Mexico. Guaranteeing and extending these permissions can have huge impact on the well-being of employees, as well as creating workplaces that promote gender equality and eradicate outdated gender roles.
In Mexico, paternity leave is below the average of OECD countries, which is 4.8 weeks. To exemplify, Japan grants 30 weeks of full-paid paternity leave, Korea allocates 15 weeks and Spain gives 10 weeks. Meanwhile, in Mexico, new fathers only receive one week of time off. This corresponds to constrictive cultural practices, where the responsibility of domestic work, such as taking care of children, fell solely on women. Mothers receive six weeks off before and after the birth of their children, according to the Federal Labor Law.
Even though the difference between men and women when expecting is vast in terms of the experiences lived, paternity leave may contribute to the strengthening of family bonds. During the first weeks of parenting, during which experts say the physical and emotional exhaustion is greater for mothers, the participation of men has a relevant and valuable effect on the well-being of the developing family. According to the OECD, improving the relationship between spouses, as well as having actively present fathers is crucial to the development of new generations. Paternity leave also enables a better work-life balance, resulting in a more productive and healthy staff.
"The real solution is shifting the family burden from women to both men and women. Companies can help support this by giving equal paternity and maternity leave. Only 5 percent of women in our survey said their companies offer fathers equal-term paternity leave of 12 weeks,” wrote Courtney McColgan, CEO and Founder, Runa HR for MBN.
A new organizational culture where the company promotes shared responsibility of children and domestic activities will further reduce the gender gap. To foster this culture, it is fundamental to communicate the positive impact coming from initiatives of this nature. This is one of the many ways a company can engage as an agent of sustainable social change. Other forms of support for employees dealing with family-related responsibilities include subsidised day care, flexible working hours, compressed workweeks, the availability of part-time jobs with full social benefits and working from home.