Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to take two months of paternity leave.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Take Two Months of Paternity Leave

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Take Two Months of Paternity Leave

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Nov. 21 2015 11:21 AM

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Plans to Take Two Months of Paternity Leave

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Facebook CEO and Chairman Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, arrive for a state dinner hosted by President Barack Obama for Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25, 2015.

Photo by Molly Riley/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook Chief Executive Officer and founder Mark Zuckerberg dived head-first into the growing debate over work-life balance as he announced plans to take two months of paternity leave after his daughter is born. “This is a very personal decision, and I’ve decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.”

Priscilla and I are starting to get ready for our daughter's arrival. We've been picking out our favorite childhood...

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, November 20, 2015

Although it was a personal announcement, the statement by one of the world’s most powerful business executives will no doubt be seen as an endorsement of the idea that everyone—no matter how senior—should take time off after a baby is born. The debate over the need for work-life balance has raged particularly strongly in Silicon Valley, where tech firms have been rushing to increase benefits in a bid to recruit talent, notes the New York Times. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix unveiled an unlimited-leave policy for new mothers and fathers in the first year of a child’s birth or adoption.

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Facebook offers four months of paid maternity or paternity leave for all its employees in the United States, which is very generous by American standards. A 2015 study found that only 21 percent of employers offered paid maternity leave and only 17 percent had paid paternity leave, notes Reuters

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.