Starting this week, fathers and other non-birthing parents in Canada have an additional five weeks of use-it-or-lose-it time to stay home with their newborns.
Before the change took effect on March 17, parents could split 35 weeks between them. Many new dads hesitated to take time out of their partner’s pool.
One of the major contributing factors are social stigmas that discourage men from taking the time off.
Dove Men+Care champions paternity leave for men around the world and is taking up the cause in Canada. It started by conducting a national survey, which found more than 4 in 5 Canadian men (85 per cent) agree that fathers should make it a top priority to take all available paternity leave, to bond with their child.
As part of the campaign, Dove Men+Care is collecting actual online comments that disparage paternity leave for men. such as “Paternity Leave is for wimps” and “Fathers use paternity leave as a vacation.”
The ads are posted online and can also be seen at Toronto’s Union Station, Yonge & Eglinton Centre, Fairview Mall, and the Scotiabank Arena. Dove Men+Care is asking Canadians to visit its site and agree or disagree with the statements.
The company says responses will better help it understand how to break down stigmas around parental leave.
“Dove Men+Care is committed to challenging the social stigmas that discourage fathers from taking paid leave,” said the company in a news release.
“Parental leave should be a socially-acceptable option for everyone.”
Paternity leave is becoming more commonplace among young fathers. According to the study half of the millennial fathers report taking it. Only 37 per cent of Gen X fathers have done the same.
Even though more Canadian fathers want to take paternity leave, the study found 75 per cent fear taking time off will negatively impact their finances. About half (51 per cent) fear it will hurt their relationships with their manager at work.