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Paternity leave in the U.S. took a good turn for Ernst & Young (EY) professionals. A new report cited 38 percent of dads at this prominent company enjoyed their parental leave benefits since its 2016 policy change.
Ernst & Young previously had an acceptable paternity leave benefit compared to other companies. It afforded dads six weeks of paid parental leave benefit for fathers and 19 percent took advantage of it.
That number rose to 38 percent when EY introduced its revised parental leave benefit in April 2016, where EY dads could now enjoy 16 weeks of full paid paternity leave. Some 82 male employees reportedly filed and benefited from this policy change, according to Employee Benefits.
When EY announced the policy change last year, it became the "first mover in equalizing parental leave benefits for men and women," as per Fortune. It bested other internationally well-established firms like Accenture, IBM and Big Four.
"By expanding our parental leave benefits to empower all of our new parents, we are giving both EY men and women the tools to thrive both professionally and personally," U.S. EY Vice Chair Carolyn Slaski said. The executive saw the rise in numbers as promising and encouraging, especially when there's a stigma around paternity leave.
Dads don't typically take full advantage of this parental benefit even as some companies provide this for its employees. Many decide to cut short their time with their newborns in order to get back in the rat race.
In 2015, Salon cited the existence of a paternity leave gap. There were fathers who admitted they held back on the benefit because of worries they would be the first laid off from work or they would be perceived as not taking their responsibilities at work seriously.
EY's paid parental leave covers not just birth parents. Also eligible are adoptive, surrogate and foster parents, as well as legal guardians. The company also offers benefits for employees of up to $25,000 for fertility treatments cost and the processing of surrogacy or adoption.