Prince Harry will reportedly take two weeks of paternity leave — and stacks of research suggest paid leave is a no-brainer

Business Insider US
Prince Harry wants to be a "modern dad."
Phil Noble / Getty
  • The UK's Prince Harry is reportedly taking two weeks of paternity leave.
  • A growing body of evidence suggests paid leave benefits parents, kids, and businesses.
  • Two weeks paid paternity leave is available to all South African since November.
  • The US is the only country in the developed world that doesn't mandate paid maternity leave.

The UK's Prince Harry will reportedly take two weeks of paternity leave when his wife, Meghan Markle, gives birth.

A friend of the Prince is reported to have said, "He doesn't need to take paternity leave because he doesn't work in the way most people do, but he thinks it's a very modern dad thing to do."

The news about the royal family serves as a reminder of how difficult it can be when paid family leave isn't an option. Becoming a new parent is a huge undertaking, and the situation becomes infinitely more challenging for parents forced to take unpaid family leave.

All South African dads, including those who adopt, have 10 consecutive days of paternity leave available since November. 

An abundance of studies illustrate how beneficial paid parental leave can be not just for parents, but also for children, society, and companies, too.

A study of European leave policies by the University of North Carolina found that paid-leave programs can substantially reduce infant mortality rates and better a child's overall health.

And research out of The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn indicates higher education, IQ, and income levels in adulthood for children of mothers who used maternity leave - the biggest effect comes for children from lower-educated households. The researchers cited this as a significant discussion for policymakers to have, as it could reduce the existing gap in education and income in the US.

Paid paternity leave is important, in addition to paid maternity leave

There's plenty of evidence that supports the effectiveness of paid paternity leave, too.

A study by Boston College's Center for Work & Family found that 86% of US men surveyed said they wouldn't use paternity leave or parental leave unless they were paid at least 70% of their normal salaries.

But research out of Israel shows the more leave men take to care for children when they're young, the more the fathers undergo changes in the brain that make them better suited to parenting. And a study by two Columbia University Social Work professors found that fathers who take two or more weeks off after their child is born are more involved in their child's care nine months later. Simply put, paid paternity leave can help foster better father-child relationships.

And the more leave fathers take, the more mothers' incomes increase. In Sweden, where fathers must take at least two months off before the child is 8 years old to receive government benefits, researchers saw mothers' incomes increase almost 7% for every month of paternity leave their husbands took.

For more, go to Business Insider South Africa.

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