爸爸去哪?休陪产假去!

无论男性在工作中取得了多大的成功、赚了多少钱,他们越来越感受到自己的工作和生活失衡了,他们的情况比职业女性还要糟糕。陪产假开始进入主流企业和文化中。 克里斯·伦肖宣布要休6周的陪产假时,同事们纷纷表示大力支持。他今年28岁,住在美国北加利福尼亚,正在参加育婴班的课程,学习换尿布、给孩子洗澡等等技术。他说:“大家对陪产假的态度很积极乐观,他们跟我说:‘这主意不错,尽量多休段时间吧。也就现在能多陪陪孩子。’” 如果伦肖供职于旧金山湾区的尖端高新科技企业,紧跟潮流休陪产假大概不算稀奇事,但是他是一名消防员。他能做出如此决定,并得到同事们的热情支持,标志着我们对于家庭和工作平衡的追求又上了一个新的台阶。 男人休产假正悄然流行 加利福尼亚一直都是改变的先锋,这次也不例外。美国的《家庭与医疗假法》早就批准大中型企业的员工休12周以下的无薪产假或陪产假,2002年加州首先为新爸爸妈妈提供6周的带薪假期,资金来自对育龄工作人员征收的少量税金。之后,新泽西州和罗德岛州也出台了相关规定,分别提供12周和13周的带薪产假、陪产假,其他诸州也有改革意向。在硅谷中,科技巨头们给出的条件比法定的假期更优渥,谷歌公司允许男性休7周的带薪陪产假,雅虎给8周假,脸书网大方地给出18周假。 陪产假也开始进入主流企业和文化中。波士顿大学工作和家庭研究中心的一项研究调查了《财富》杂志评出的500强企业,它们的大部分男员工现在会在孩子出生后休一段时间的假,但是时间一般不会超过两周。在英国,威廉王子在儿子乔治出生后休了两周的假,他正在军队服役,工作是驾驶搜救直升机。棒球大联盟也给球员们设置了陪产假,但是只有三天。 让女人更受益 带薪陪产假对于男性们来说肯定是喜从天降,然而,他们可能并没有注意到,这项政府最大的受益者并不是男人,也不是孩子。从长远来看,最大的赢家反而是女性,随着女性的进步,所有企业乃至整个国家都会受益。10月份,全球经济论坛发布了最新的“世界性别歧视情况报告”,报告称在很多国家,女性的受教育水平已经超过了男性;经济最强力的国家都在尽力保障女性的事业,减小男女之间的收入差异,确保女性生完孩子后还能工作。其中,经济最发达的国家采取的一项异常有效的措施就是放陪产假。无论陪产假的连带好处是什么,它本身是一个强力而出色的社会改良工程,事实证明它能改变人们的习惯,男性更多地参与家庭生活,女性更多地参与工作,在家庭和工作中男女平等都得以推进。 陪产假的独到之处在于,它促使新型的家庭关系和育儿习惯形成。尽管现在大部分美国女性都有工作,但是很多人生完孩子后事业受到不良影响,部分原因就是她们不得不承担起大量的家庭责任。社会学家阿莉·豪斯查尔德把这种现象称为“第二次转职”。2007年的一项调查显示,60%的前职业女性之所以停止工作,就是因为丈夫没法帮她们做家务和照顾孩子。有一项研究把孩子刚出生后的数周称为“重新界定关系的关键时期”,在这段时间要一直换尿布,半夜还要喂孩子,基本睡不好觉,这时候形成的照看孩子的习惯往往会一直延续下去。而陪产假可能对这些习惯造成很大影响。 父亲的假日——从羞耻到开心 相对而言,女性休产假主要是出于身体原因。早在19世纪晚期,一些国家就强制女性在生产前后休假。二战期间,欧洲的工厂和办公室都是女性的天地,战后一些国家使用强制休假的政策让女性回到家中她们“应该待的地方”。休产假确实对健康有利,到了20世纪70年代,职业女性的地位得到提升,人们认识到产假可以保护女性和孩子的健康,让新妈妈从生产中恢复过来,并抽到时间带新生儿看医生。很多研究表明,女性休产假可以让孩子接受更长时间的母乳喂养,降低新生儿的死亡率。 最近几十年间,人们对产假的理解更深入了。很多收养孩子的父母以亲身经历告诉我们,即使孩子不是自己生的,也应该多花些时间照顾刚刚加入家庭中的幼小生命。他们的经历也为父亲休产假开辟了道路,他们透露出的信息是:孩子出生后休假并不仅仅是为了修复身体的创伤,更是为了与孩子建立关系。加利福尼亚给新父母的6周产假、陪产假统称“亲情假”(刚生完孩子的女性可以再休一段时间的带薪休养假)。 听起来可能有些自相矛盾,但是陪产假也是发达国家修正产假的不良影响的方式。我们都认为北欧人民的工作和生活最为平衡,但是在这些地区,有一些政策也引起了过度反应。为了追求工作中的男女平等及更高的生育率,瑞典、德国等国家有时会给女性放一年多的产假,目的是为了照顾女性。然而,用人单位知道女性员工可能长时间无法工作,所以他们不愿意让女性担任要职,把女性安排到收入较低的岗位中(有些女性自己申请担任这些岗位)。专门研究劳动力资源的经济学家认为,过长的产假成为男女收入平等的障碍,而在家中,女性不得不从事大部分家务,独力照看孩子。 一些国家开始进行改革,把产假缩短或者放“中性假”,就是允许夫妻任何一方休产假,但其实还是女性在休产假。因此,政策制定者们决定给男人放假,并且让他们无法拒绝。挪威、冰岛、德国、芬兰等国家提供一系列奖励措施,鼓励男性休陪产假。一些国家给休产假的男性多发工资,让他们感觉自己呆在家里也能养好家;很多国家还采取了“不用白不用”的放假方法,给每个家庭固定天数的假期,其中一部分只有父亲可以休。 这些假期被称为“父亲的假日”,其独特之处在于男性们不再因为休假而感到耻辱,很多男性现在觉得不休假才是耻辱的。经济学家安基塔·帕特奈克研究了加拿大魁北克的相关政策,她说有些家庭认为父亲不休假是一种损失。2006年,魁北克提高了带薪休假的薪水,并单为父亲们提供了5周的陪产假。帕特奈克说:“这项举措的影响深远。现在有的父亲觉得不休假不太好,孩子没有机会呆在父母身边了。”从那以后,魁北克休陪产假的人数直线上升,2001年的数字是10%,2010年的数字超过了80%。 男人休产假的N个好处 这项政策实现了很多人们一直期望的目标,其中最主要的就是做家务的人选不再固定。已有研究表明,休陪产假的父亲在一年后仍会给孩子换尿布、洗澡、读睡前故事,也更可能半夜起来照顾孩子。帕特奈克的研究就证实了这一点,她读了一些男性的日记,发现有资格休陪产假的男性,无论是否真的休了这个假,之后都会花更多的时间做家务,包括做饭和购物。 这些变化听起来不怎么显著,但其实并非如此。虽然近20年来男性做家务的比例上升了,但是他们一般会选择比较有趣的任务,比如带孩子出去玩,做饭、扫除这样的麻烦活计他们是不爱做的。美国俄勒冈大学的社会学家斯科特·科称特兰说,只有在男性从事单调的日常家务时,女性才会感觉被平等对待了,才不会感到抑郁。 在魁北克,丈夫可以休陪产假的女性大多会回到原单位全职工作,工作的时间要比以前的女性长得多。与此同时,男性工作的时间有所缩减。 因此,陪休假可能打破“成为父亲后会升薪”的错误认识。在20世纪初,用人单位明明白白地给结了婚的男性多发工资,肯定要比女性薪水高,它们甚至还为这项政策洋洋自得,因为结了婚的男性是养家糊口的主力。后来用人单位不再使用这项措施了,但是父亲们的工资还是有所提高,因为单位认为他们更有工作动力,更可靠,工作的时间更长。然而,帕特奈克的研究表明,陪产假可能改变男性的思维方式,他们为了得到更多的时间、更灵活的工作安排以便照顾家里,会愿意牺牲高薪。如此一来,男性跟女性的行为方式就很像了。 许多追求工作场合男女平等的政策,其主要目标就是取消对于员工为人父母身份的歧视。陪产假变得普遍以后,老板招人时就不会对20几岁的女性有顾虑了,至少能让他们对20几岁的男性也不待见。 现在还不能确定加利福尼亚州、新泽西州、罗德岛州的带薪陪产假政策能否达到魁北克的政策那样的效果,但是从现在的苗头来看,这些政策不错。加利福尼亚州的政策开始实施后,休“亲情假”的男性从2005年的18.7%升到了2012、2013年的31.3%。之前有些人担心新法令会让大批的人丢掉工作,经济学家艾琳·阿佩尔鲍姆和社会学家露丝·米尔克曼的研究表明这些担心是没有必要的,用人单位有很多方法来填补职位的空缺。法令实施过程中最大的障碍是如何宣传,尤其是如何让低收入家庭相信休陪产假的诸多好处。 不让休假,就辞职回家的男人 依照新闻报道和人们的传统观点来看,休陪产假的男性还是会引人侧目,所以在采访纽约市一个父亲们组成的组织时我大感吃惊,他们说宣布要休产假之后,他们的老板和同事都对他们大加赞扬。波士顿大学工作和家庭研究中心也有一项研究表明,男性加入“父母俱乐部”对于他们的事业影响较小:父亲们因家里的事请假更容易被批准,而母亲们请假会被认为不尽心、不能鼓励。该研究还发现,男性一般不会因家里的事正式向老板提出要求,他们会选择“偷跑”的方式,比如偷溜出去指导孩子踢球。老板对于父亲们如此宽容,当然有一方面的原因是他们的要求向来很少。 然而,现在他们的要求多起来了。里奇·加拉格尔在纽约从事公关关系方面的工作,第一次休陪产假的时候他的老板很支持,但是第二个孩子出生的时候他换了工作,再要休陪假的时候他的立场变得微妙起来,同事们纷纷表示不解。他辞了那份工作。现在他不需要休陪产假了,但是找工作的时候他会参考用人单位的休假政策,判断他们是否重视员工工作和生活的平衡。 需要指出的是,大多数休陪产假的男性假期长度远不到6周,有些人需要挪用其他假期。在美国,长期的陪产假还是新兴事物,人们刚刚开始关注。菲尔莱狄更斯大学的管理学教授斯科特·比森说:“在近期,我们可以盼望休个2周的陪产假。”比森在博客中会讨论为人父的话题,他建议可以采取折衷的方法,就是给男性放2周的带薪陪产假,之后每周可以灵活地休1或2天的带薪假。四大会计师事务所之一的德勤公司为男性员工提供3-8周的带薪陪产假,他们发现很多人喜欢把假期错开,比如在孩子出生时休几周假,然后在妻子回归工作后再休假。 这样的事例表明,无论男性在工作中取得了多大的成功、赚了多少钱,他们越来越感受到自己的工作和生活失衡了,他们的情况比职业女性还要糟糕。2011年的一个报告总结说,感觉最差的男性认为自己应该多多待在家中,但是却花了大把时间工作。 我采访的男性中有不少做出了跟曾经的职业母亲一样的决定,这再次表明陪产假能减小工作场合中男女之间的差异。父亲们发现很多时候,孩子上床睡觉的时间都过了他们还在工作,于是他们决定放弃工作了。兰斯·萨姆菲尔德在纽约一所规模很大的小学教书,在第一个孩子出生前,他决定休陪产假。他希望守在家中,而妻子的事业正蒸蒸日上。夫妻俩规划未来的时候发现,以后照顾孩子的费用将会用光他的税后薪水,因此他决定把陪产假无限期延长。萨姆菲尔德通知校方他不会回校任职了,起码近期不会,校长知道后在广播里宣布说:“萨姆菲尔德老师明年将回离开我们,成为一个现代人。”

Daddy Track: The Case for Paternity Leave

When Chris Renshaw told his co-workers that he was planning to take six weeks of paternity leave, they responded with overwhelming support. “It’s definitely looked at in a good light,” says Renshaw, 28, who lives in Northern California and was taking infant-care classes to hone his diapering and baby-bathing skills. “People have said, ‘That’s a great idea—take as much as you can. It’s time that you can be with your child.’ ” This would hardly be surprising if Renshaw worked for one of the legions of progressive tech companies in the Bay Area, but he’s a firefighter. His decision to take paternity leave, and his fellow firefighters’ enthusiastic reaction, is a sign of a new phase in our never-ending quest for work-life harmony. As usual, California is at the vanguard of this shift. While the federal Family and Medical Leave Act has long granted up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to mothers and fathers in large and medium-size workplaces, in 2002 California became the first U.S. state to guarantee six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers alike, financed by a small payroll-tax contribution from eligible workers. Since then, New Jersey and Rhode Island have followed suit with 12 and 13 paid weeks, respectively, while other states are taking steps toward similar policies. In Silicon Valley, many tech giants have gone above and beyond the government mandate: Google offers men seven weeks of paid leave; Yahoo, eight; and Reddit and Facebook, a generous 17. Paternity leave has also begun to enter the corporate and cultural mainstream. According to a study by the Boston College Center for Work and Family, which surveyed men in a number of Fortune 500 companies, most new fathers now take at least some time off after the birth of a baby, though few depart the workplace for more than two weeks. In England, Prince William took two weeks’ leave from his job as a military search-and-rescue helicopter pilot when his son, George, was born. Even Major League Baseball has formalized paternity leave—albeit three days’ worth—for players, partnering with Dove’s line for men in a pro-fatherhood campaign called Big League Dads. But here’s what men may not realize: While paid paternity leave may feel like an unexpected gift, the biggest beneficiaries aren’t men, or even babies. In the long run, the true beneficiaries of paternity leave are women, and the companies and nations that benefit when women advance. In October, the World Economic Forum released its latest global gender-gap report, showing that countries with the strongest economies are those that have found ways to further women’s careers, close the gender pay gap, and keep women—who in most nations are now better educated than men—tethered to the workforce after they become mothers. One strikingly effective strategy used by the highest-ranking countries is paternity leave, which, whatever else it may accomplish, is a brilliant and ambitious form of social engineering: a behavior-modification tool that has been shown to boost male participation in the household, enhance female participation in the labor force, and promote gender equity in both domains. The genius of paternity leave is that it shapes domestic and parenting habits as they are forming. While most mothers in the United States now work, many women still see their careers suffer after they became parents, in part because they end up shouldering the bulk of the domestic load—a phenomenon the sociologist Arlie Hochschild has dubbed the “second shift.” A 2007 study found that 60 percent of professional women who stopped working reported that they were largely motivated by their husbands’ unavailability to share housework and child-care duties. Paternity leave is a chance to intervene at what one study called “a crucial time of renegotiation”: those early, sleep-deprived weeks of diaper changes and midnight feedings, during which couples fall into patterns that turn out to be surprisingly permanent. Maternity leave, on the other hand, has mostly medical origins. As early as the late 19th century in certain countries, taking a leave of absence was compulsory before and after birth. After World War II, some European countries used compulsory-leave policies to funnel women from the factories and offices they’d filled during the war back into what was seen as their proper domestic sphere. But the medical benefits are real; by the 1970s, as the ranks of working women rose, maternity leave was increasingly understood as a way to safeguard the health of women and children, giving mothers time to recover from childbirth and take babies to those early, frequent doctor appointments. Studies have confirmed that when women take maternity leave, babies get breast-fed longer and infant-mortality rates go down. In recent decades, the rationale has expanded, thanks in part to adoptive parents who made the sensible case that not giving birth to your child doesn’t invalidate the need to spend intimate time with a small, vulnerable person who has just joined your family. This crusade helped pave the way for dads, encouraging the idea that leave is as much about forming attachments as recovering from medical trauma. California’s six weeks are known as “bonding leave” (mothers who give birth can add this to a period of paid disability leave). Somewhat paradoxically, paternity leave has also evolved as a way for progressive countries to correct for an overly enthusiastic embrace of paid leave for mothers. We tend to think of Scandinavia and northern Europe as exemplars of work-family balance, but a tangle of warring policies in these regions has led to a few backfires. In their pursuit of an egalitarian workplace (and higher fertility rates), countries like Sweden and Germany have at times offered women more than a year of maternity leave—sometimes quite a bit more—a strategy that can fortify the glass ceiling rather than shatter it. Anticipating that women will disappear for long periods of time, managers become reluctant to hire them into senior positions, and female workers are shunted (or shunt themselves) into lower-paying sectors. Among labor economists, overly long maternity leaves are now recognized as creating a barrier to pay equity. At home, meanwhile, long leaves result in women doing most of the housework and child care. Some countries began recalibrating, shortening leave for women and offering “neutral leave” that could be taken by either parent—but which became de facto maternity leave. So policy makers decided to make men an offer they would feel ashamed to refuse. Norway, Iceland, Germany, Finland, and several other countries offered a variety of incentives to nudge men to take leave. Some countries offered them more money, which helped men feel that they were financially supporting their families even when they were at home. Many also adopted a “use it or lose it” approach, granting each family a total amount of leave, a certain portion of which could be used only by fathers. Fathers who take leave are more likely, a year or so down the road, to bathe their kids, change their diapers, and read them bedtime stories. The brilliance of “daddy days,” as this solution came to be known, is that, rather than feeling stigmatized for taking time off from their jobs, many men now feel stigmatized if they don’t. The economist Ankita Patnaik, who has studied Quebec’s implementation of such a policy, told me that “families felt they were wasting something” if the father didn’t take leave. In 2006, Quebec increased the financial benefits for paid leave and offered five weeks that could be taken only by fathers. “That’s what really made a difference,” Patnaik told me. “Now dads might feel bad for not taking leave—your baby loses this time with parents.” Since then, the percentage of Quebecois fathers taking paternity leave has skyrocketed, from about 10 percent in 2001 to more than 80 percent in 2010. The policy has achieved many of the hoped-for long-term outcomes, chief among them more fluidity in who does what around the house. Previous studies found that fathers who take paternity leave are more likely, a year or so down the road, to change diapers, bathe their children, read them bedtime stories, and get up at night to tend to them. Patnaik’s study confirmed this; looking at time-use diaries, she found that men who were eligible for the new leave—whether or not they took it—ended up spending more time later on routine chores like shopping and cooking. If these changes sound minor, they aren’t. As men have taken on more domestic work over the past 20 or so years, they have gravitated toward the fun stuff, like hanging out with the kids, rather than the boring but inescapable duties, like boiling the ravioli or vacuuming Cheerios out of the family-room carpet. The University of Oregon sociologist Scott Coltrane has noted that when men share “routine repetitive chores,” women feel they are being treated fairly and are less likely to become depressed. In Quebec, women whose husbands were eligible for the new leave were more likely to return to their original employers and were more likely to work full-time, resulting in their spending “considerably” more hours on paid work. (When women work full-time, it alters the home division of labor more than when they work part-time.) And as women were spending more time working for pay, men were spending less: the Quebec paternity-leave policy resulted in a small but long-term decrease in fathers’ time at work. Working fathers increasingly report feeling more work-family conflict than working mothers do. This finding hints at the possibility that paternity leave could erode the fabled “fatherhood wage premium.” In the early 20th century, employers explicitly and even proudly paid married men more than they paid single men—and much more than they paid women—in recognition of the fact that husbands were the conduit by which families got fed. Even after employers dropped these formal policies, fathers have continued to enjoy a wage bonus, either because they are seen as being more motivated and reliable, or because they work longer hours, or both. But Patnaik’s study suggests that paternity leave might give men a new mind-set, prompting them to trade more money for more time at home, more flexibility, or both. In this way, it could make men behave more like women. Which points to a core goal of many workplace-equity policies: spreading the parenthood stigma around. Widespread paternity-leave plans raise the possibility that bosses will stop looking askance at the résumé of a 20‑something female applicant, or at least apply the same scrutiny to a similar male applicant. While it’s too soon to tell whether California’s, New Jersey’s, and Rhode Island’s paid-paternity-leave programs will be as transformative as Quebec’s, the early signs are positive. Since California instituted its program, the percentage of “bonding leaves” claimed by men has risen from 18.7 in 2005 and 2006 to 31.3 in 2012 and 2013. A study by the economist Eileen Appelbaum and the sociologist Ruth Milkman showed that initial concerns that the California law would be a “job killer” were unfounded, and that workplaces have figured out effective and creative ways to cover for leave-taking parents. The biggest hurdle seems to be getting the word out, particularly among lower-income families that could benefit enormously from the program. (Part of the beauty of the California policy is that it extends leave to men in non-white-collar jobs.) News stories and conventional wisdom suggest that men still feel judged when they take paternity leave, so I was struck, while speaking with a New York City dads’ group, by how many of its members had received positive reinforcement from bosses and colleagues after announcing their decision to take leave. A different study by the Boston College Center for Work and Family has found that for men, joining the “parents club” tends to have positive professional consequences: fathers are more readily permitted to adjust their work hours than are mothers, who are often viewed as less committed and less promotable. The study also found that men tend not to ask for formal work-life policies; they use “stealth” methods instead, like slipping out to coach soccer practice. Part of the leniency toward working dads, of course, may be due to the fact that they simply haven’t asked for much. But now they’re asking. Rich Gallagher, who works in public relations in New York, had a supportive employer when he took his first leave. But he’d switched jobs by the time his second child was born, and found that taking time off “soured” his standing and won him dirty looks from colleagues. He left that job, and even now that he doesn’t need paternity leave anymore, he looks at potential employers’ leave policies as a benchmark for whether they are committed to work-life balance. Most men who take leave, it’s important to note, don’t take anything close to six weeks, and many are obliged to use vacation time for part or all of whatever time they do take. In the U.S., we are only just starting to wrap our minds around longer paternity leave. “Two weeks for men may be the best we can hope for in the medium term,” says Scott Behson, a management professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University, who blogs about fatherhood. He suggests a compromise in which men receive two weeks of paid leave, followed by a flexible schedule that would enable them to take a paid day or two off each week. Companies like Deloitte, which offers three to eight weeks of paid paternity leave, are finding that many men prefer to stagger their time off, taking a few weeks when the baby is born, for example, and then more time when their wives go back to work. Options like these may help to address the somewhat surprising fact that, regardless of whatever plaudits or premiums they may or may not enjoy in the office, working fathers increasingly report feeling more work-family conflict than working mothers do. A 2011 report concluded that the most-conflicted men are those who are stuck working long hours yet feel they should be at home. In another sign of how paternity leave can narrow the gap between working mothers and fathers, more than one man I spoke with had made a decision long familiar to mothers who find themselves trapped in the office after bedtime too many nights. Upon the birth of his first child, Lance Somerfeld planned to take paternity leave from his teaching job at a big elementary school in the Bronx. He looked forward to being home, and his wife’s career was going well. As they thought about the future, they reckoned that child-care costs would eat up most of his after-tax salary, so he decided to extend his leave indefinitely. When Somerfeld informed the school that he would not be returning, at least not anytime soon, his principal went on the PA system and announced, “Mr. Somerfeld will be leaving us next year to become a modern man!”