Taking time off for the birth of a new baby often means juggling the desire to stay home with the need for a paycheck. That's because out of 41 countries studied in 2016 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States is the only nation that doesn’t mandate any paid maternity and paternity leave for new parents. 

Instead, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to care for a newborn. The challenge, however, for many moms and dads is qualifying for FMLA eligibility. To be eligible, you must have been at your job for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and your company must employ 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius.

When it comes to how individual companies make allowances for their employees, men and women generally don’t receive the same treatment. According to the 2016 National Study of Employers, 58% of companies offer some paid maternity leave, while only 15% offer paid paternity leave. Even moms with benefits don't fare that well: Only 10% of employers who offer paid maternity leave pay new mothers their full salary during their time away. (See: Top 10 Companies with the Best Benefits (NFLX, ADBE).)

While the majority of companies don’t offer paid paternity leave, a new study from the website Fatherly highlights those companies that are giving new dads the recognition – and the paid time off – they deserve.

Want Paid Paternity Leave? Work for a Tech Company

The National Study of Employers found that when it comes to company size, larger companies are more likely to offer paid leave for new parents. That’s backed up by the Fatherly study, which focused on companies that have 1,000 or more employees. Here are the companies that made it into the study’s upper rankings.


Paid Paternity Leave

1. Netflix

52 weeks

2. Etsy

26 weeks

3. American Express

20 weeks

4. Spotify

24 weeks

5. Facebook

17 weeks

6. Twitter

20 weeks

7. VMware

18 weeks

8. Bank of America

16 weeks

9. Patagonia

12 weeks

10. Deloitte

16 weeks

Overwhelmingly, the companies that ranked as the best for new dads are in the tech sector, although Bank of American (BAC) and American Express (AXP) represent the financial sector. In addition to offering a full year of paid paternity leave for salaried employees, Netflix (NFLX) gives new fathers unlimited vacation time. In addition, hourly employees get 16 weeks of paid leave.

Spotify offers new fathers some flexibility when it comes to how they use their 24 weeks of paid leave. Dads can choose when to use their leave time, up to their child’s third birthday, and the leave period is retroactive for new employees who have had a child in the previous three years. The “Welcome Back Program” makes transitioning back to full-time work less stressful, with flexible hours and the option to telecommute. (See: The Ultimate Working From Home Guide.)

That reflects a broader trend in the number of employers who allow employees to transition back to work slowly after a leave of absence. The National Study of Employers found that 52% of organizations included in the study allowed most or all of their employees to reenter their working routine gradually after the birth of a child.

In terms of additional benefits, many of the companies included on Fatherly’s list offer fringe benefits such as a medical assistance supplement to help cover expenses associated with the birth or adoption of a child, cash welcome gifts for new babies, childcare reimbursement or, in the case of companies like Workday (WDAY) and Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCA), on-site childcare.

The Bottom Line

While the policies these and other companies implement with regard to paid paternity leave are encouraging, there’s plenty room for improvement elsewhere in the job market. Earlier this year, legislation was reintroduced that would give federal employees six weeks of paid parental leave, but it has yet to make any significant progress in Congress. The question of a federal mandate for paid leave covering all workers in the U.S. has yet to be addressed.

For new dads, or those who plan to be dads one day, the options for paid leave remain limited.  But as companies expand their paid paternity leave policies – especially in the nation's increasingly tight job market – one can hope that other employers will soon follow suit.