It’s traditionally been mothers who have had to take time off work to look after children. But in the past two years, the pandemic has accelerated a huge shift towards many more fathers wanting to play an active role in family life. In this episode of Working It, we look at the fast-moving changes in workplace parental leave trends - and what that means for mothers, fathers - and the co-workers who pick up the slack.

Isabel talks to Matt Schneider, co-founder of the US-based City Dads Group, about why paternity leave matters - and the barriers that still stand in men’s way. Are we really still hard-wired to think about men as breadwinners and women as caregivers? 

Then she discusses why paternity leave matters more than ever in the current hot labour market, with FT management editor and Working It regular Andrew Hill. If the older, male, leaders in organisations take a dim view of younger colleagues taking paternity leave, do they risk losing them to other companies with a more forward-thinking culture? 

And we find out that equality for men in this area might just be the key to women’s advancement - and even help to close the gender pay gap. 

Want to read more? 

Join a City Dads Group in the US

The FT’s Emma Jacobs on family leave policies as the key to staff retention

France doubles paternity leave

McKinsey survey on paternity leave and why it matters

We love to hear from you. What do you like (or not)? What topics should we tackle in 2022? Email the team at or Isabel directly at Follow @isabelberwick on Twitter 

Subscribe to Working It wherever you get your podcasts - please listen, rate and subscribe!

Presented by Isabel Berwick. Editorial direction from Renée Kaplan. Assistant producer is Persis Love. Sound design is by Breen Turner, with original music from Metaphor Music. Produced by Novel.

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