The importance of paternity leave for mental health

The importance of paternity leave for mental health

Wherever there is mind, there is mental health and that is why there is no particular gender, age group, or job industry that is an exception to getting affected due to stress. Every gender has its challenges at the workplace, some are imposed because of societal stereotypes and some due to the nature of the job. For example, in India, for a long time, a woman was more easily accepted for indoor and household-related duties, and it was assumed to be a man’s job to be the main earning member of the family. The great thing is that these stereotypes have not only been questioned daily but are also broken every day now. 

Workplaces all over are also mindful of their employees' wellbeing when introducing policies. Several initiatives allow employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance and focus on their wellbeing.  

Paternity leave is a paid time off for fathers when the child is born. This is crucial and allows male employees to support their wives post giving birth. Childbirth brings in a new transition in every couple’s life and it can get overwhelming to manage this transition along with work. It is a natural learning curve for every couple; the more you can be there for your child and your partner, the easier this transition becomes. 

The policies for paternity leave depend upon your Organisation and the sector you work in as there’s no one unanimous policy in place at the moment. However, more and more fathers have started understanding the value and thus opting for paternity leave now. (Please note that you need to refer to your company's policies or employment contracts to understand your entitlement to paternity leave and any associated terms and conditions.)

Let us have a look at why paternity leave is a great initiative to implement in your organization: 

It helps in strengthening bonds with loved ones due to increased availability

Paternity leave allows a father to get involved and take more responsibility to support and care for the child and the mother. This helps the father to be more hands-on and also to take an active part in witnessing the child’s first milestones. These experiences develop a deeper and more positive emotional connection with the child and the loved ones in your family. Research shows that 90% of the male employees who took paternity leave, reported improved relationships with their partners.

Offering yourself and your family more time to process things emotionally

The arrival of a new baby can be a very stressful and overwhelming event for families. Families are likely to be on their toes for the most part. It can also affect your ability to look after yourself and focus on your wellbeing. During paternity leave, you can use this time to process things at your own pace, rest whenever you can, and focus on your and your family’s wellbeing. This time can be utilized to restore energy and connect with oneself as well.

It results in reduced stress and pressure

Research has shown that fathers who take paternity leave are less likely to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Studies also show that a father’s increased involvement in taking care of the baby can mitigate maternal postpartum depression outcomes. Paternity leave helps because it gives you a buffer period during which you can re-assess your values, re-prioritize goals, and focus on what is important. Look at it as a break you take before resuming work full-time and taking in more professional responsibilities.

It encourages and promotes gender equality

When an organization encourages fathers to take paternity leave, it also encourages sharing responsibilities and encouragement of active participation by fathers in taking care of the child. It is a powerful statement that helps in breaking down the gender stereotypes invented by society and promotes gender equality. It enhances organisational culture.


  1. What is the duration of the Paternity Leave?

It is subjective. Eligibility criteria for paternity leave include factors such as employment status, length of service, and relationship to the child (biological father, adoptive father, or partner in a same-sex relationship). Specific eligibility requirements will vary depending on legal regulations and employer policies. You can check with your organisation to understand the policy better. 

  1. Is paternity leave paid or unpaid?

Whether paternity leave is paid or unpaid depends on the country's laws, employer policies, and individual employment contracts. Some employers offer paid paternity leave as part of their benefits package, while others may provide unpaid leave or a combination of both.

  1. How can I apply for paternity leave?

The process for applying for paternity leave varies depending on the employer's policies and procedures. Typically, employees are required to notify their employer in advance of their intention to take paternity leave and may need to provide relevant documentation, such as proof of the child's birth or adoption.

  1. Are there any financial considerations during paternity leave?

Depending on whether paternity leave is paid or unpaid, fathers taking leave may experience changes in their income during this period. Fathers need to plan and budget accordingly to manage any potential financial implications of taking paternity leave, such as reduced income or changes in expenses.