More than 3 years ago, I blogged about the unjustified criticism received by then-New York Mets (and now Washington Nationals) baseball player Daniel Murphy when he missed 2 baseball games for the birth of his child. That criticism – much of it voiced by other athletes and sports commentators – put a spotlight on the stigma associated with paternity leave.
The fact is that very few FMLA-eligible men take 12 weeks of leave for the birth of a child. In fact, according to a 2012 Department of Labor survey, 70% of men take 10 or fewer days of paternity leave.
Well, fast forward to last week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced (on Facebook, of course) that he will take 2 months off work when his daughter is born later this year. He won’t take the 2 months continuously; rather, he’ll take 1 month when his daughter is born and then the month of December.
Of course, we’re all very happy for Mr. Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla, and their first daughter, Maxima. The upcoming birth of baby girl Zuckerberg has received worldwide media attention, as has Mr. Zuckerberg’s paternity leave announcement. But here is a question I have not seen anybody answer — why is Mr. Zuckerberg limiting his time off to 2 months? Doesn’t he know that he’s entitled to 12 weeks under the FMLA? Or, better yet, doesn’t he know that he’s entitled to 4 months of paid leave under his own Facebook policy?
Yes, I understand that Mr. Zuckerberg is very busy at work; he does, after all, run one of the largest tech companies in the world. But, will Mr. Zuckerberg’s silence on the issue (and the media silence on the issue) perpetuate the stigma attached to paternity leave, perhaps within Mr. Zuckerberg’s own company?