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Mark Zuckerberg Will Take Two Months of Parental Leave



Mark Zuckerberg said today that he will be taking two months off when his first daughter is born.

“Priscilla and I are starting to get ready for our daughter’s arrival,” the Facebook founder said, referring to his wife, Priscilla Chan, in a post on his Facebook page.

“We’ve also been thinking about how we’re going to take time off during the first months of her life. This is a very personal decision, and I’ve decided to take 2 months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives.”

This news is, of course, great for Zuckerberg and his family. We wish them the best. But this is a big deal for the rest of us, too. Zuckerberg is perhaps the most prominent chief executive of a major public tech company to take this much time off following the birth of his child. That’s important, because executives set the tone for a company (and, in some ways, the country) when it comes to balancing work and family.

Like some other major tech companies, Facebook already offers new parents a parental leave plan considered very generous by US standards. New parents at Facebook can take four paid months off. They receive benefits such as $4,000 for each child born or adopted. As we’ve written before, however, employees may feel reluctant to take advantage of such plans if their companies don’t have a culture that encourages taking time off. And company culture typically comes from the top.

“Every day things are getting a little more real for us, and we’re excited to start this next stage in our lives,” Zuckerberg wrote. Let’s hope more companies will offer new parents more leave, and that dads will be able to follow his lead.