Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the head of one of the world’s most valuable and influential corporations, says he plans on taking two months of paternity leave when his second daughter is born. In a post published to his public Facebook account today, Zuckerberg explained that he took the same amount of time when his first daughter, Max, was born in 2015. “I will always be grateful I could spend so much time with her in the first months of her life,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Our new daughter is coming soon, and I'm planning to take two months of paternity leave again.”
More intimate details about a chief executive’s personal life don’t normally warrant such special attention. However, parental leave remains a controversial concept in American workplaces given its lack of legislative support from the US government and the cultural stigma around employees, especially those in executive leadership, taking time off from work. According to a 2017 study from Pew Research, only 14 percent of civilian workers had access to paid family leave, and the first state to establish mandated paid family leave was California in 2004. Standard family leave policies in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere are much more generous on average.
American tech companies, which offer employees some of the most lavish employee benefits of any modern business sector, have typically gone above and beyond the standard requirements regarding leave, both as a way to retain valuable talent and as a way to set a standard for US companies and keep them competitive with international competitors. Facebook offers up to four months leave for new parents, time that can be split up throughout the first year of a new child’s birth. Zuckerberg says this time around, he’ll be making use of that policy instead of taking off two months straight.
“I'll take a month off to be with Priscilla and the girls at the beginning, and then we'll spend the whole month of December together as well. I'm looking forward to bonding with our new little one and taking Max on adventures,” Zuckerberg writes. “At Facebook, we offer four months of maternity and paternity leave because studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, it's good for the entire family. And I'm pretty sure the office will still be standing when I get back.”