The Problem With Parental Leave

Sarah Meier says there’s a problem with parental leave programs. And it’s with men.

“All these programs we’re implementing for women in the workplace just end up leaving men feel alienated and excluded,” Meir tells her DisruptHR audience in Zurich. The cause, though, is not so much the programs themselves. After all, parental leave is available to men and women. As Meir describes it, the problem is male cultural roles and perceptions.

“All I hear is ‘If I work 80% I’m just going to do the same work for less pay’. Or, ‘If I leave at 4:30 to pick up the kids, that will be the end of my career.’ All I hear is fear, and excuses, and lost dreams,” she says.

Meir asks men to be courageous, setting aside those worries to take the risk. Unspoken, but clearly implied in what Meir says, is the need for employers to facilitate men in their desire to be a parent.

“We can’t do this on our own,” she says, speaking directly to the men in her audience of HR professionals. “Dare to be the trailblazer.”

Article Continues Below

In partnership with DisruptHR, TLNT presents some of the best Disrupt presentations from events across North America and now the world. Disrupt talks are modeled on the TEDx concept: Short, to the point talks on all things HR — talent, culture and technology.

DISRUPT is an information exchange designed to energize, inform and empower people in the HR field.

Founded by Disrupt's CEO Jennifer McClure, events are organized by volunteer teams working with Disrupt staff who assist in the planning. Events have a maximum of 14 speakers, who get 5 minutes and no more than 20 slides for their presentation.

Interested in organizing a DisruptHR event in your city? Here's how to get started.