In the latest sign of evolving attitudes toward parental leave in the tech industry, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today he would step away from his role for two months when his daughter is born. Zuckerberg announced in July that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting their first child. In the months since, as part of a continuing debate in the tech world over improving gender equality and diversity efforts overall, several tech companies have stepped forward to improve their leave policies. Facebook employees in the United States can take up to four months off when a child is born.
In August, Netflix began offering unlimited paid maternity and paternity leave for employees, an industry first. The move had ripple effects — just a few months later, Amazon began offering paid paternity leave for the first time. On one level, Zuckerberg taking some time away from Facebook may not be surprising — he's a billionaire and can do whatever he wants! But the move sends a message to other fathers at the company that they should feel comfortable spending time away from Facebook when their own children are born. In a country that works more and takes less time off than any other, that message is a welcome one.