Even though many experts say that offering parental leave for new fathers could help close the gender gap, a new study has found that parental leave also has a pay gap. Yes, you read that right: Men are more likely to get paid (or get paid more) if they decide to take parental time off.
A survey that was conducted by New America asked 2,966 men across the country, and it found that men are more likely to receive paid parental leave. More than 52 percent of fathers had fully paid parental leave, while 14 percent of fathers had partially paid parental leave. To compare to that, only 33 percent of mothers had fully paid parental leave, and 19 percent had partially paid parental leave.
The study also found that women are more likely to accept unpaid parental leave, partly because they need physical recovery time, and partly because they need to watch after their children. Only 28 percent of men said that they took parental leave, though, compared to 40 percent of women who said that they took unpaid parental leave, which means that men aren’t taking time off unless they’re getting paid for it.
The biggest factor of why men aren’t taking time off work after the birth of a child is money, and a whopping 87 percent of respondents said that money was the top reason why men didn’t opt to go on parental leave.
Amanda Lenhart, deputy director at the Better Life Lab at New America, who worked on the report, told the Huffington Post that the central theme of this report is that men and women both want to take leave, and men are less likely to take it.
According to New America, the problem can only be fixed by changing the culture and American values around men and caregiving.