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Why this CEO believes paid paternity leave is good for business

by Elizabeth Murray /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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More companies than ever are now offering paid maternity leave, but what about working dads? One entrepreneur with a history of bold ideas said paid paternity leave is not only the right thing to do, but it's also good for business.

Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, offers eight weeks paid paternity leave, and believes it's what corporate America should look like for new dads. He himself took 12 weeks off after the birth of his first child, and wrote about his experience in Glamour Magazine.

"It's spread like wildfire; outpouring of people celebrating this and saying, 'I hope my boss sees this. I hope my husband sees this,'" Mycoskie told NBC's Jacob Rascon for TODAY Saturday. "It really has been a fascinating thing how passionate people are about this topic."

Today, just 17 percent of American companies offer paid leave for fathers (the U.S. government doesn't mandate any time off for new dads, let alone paid leave). Compare that to countries like Finland, which offers 54 paid days of paternity leave, and Slovenia, which offers 90. In other countries like Chile and Portugal, paternity leave is mandatory.

Mycoskie said that in his experience, everyone wins when we invest in fathers.

"What may look like a cost on the spread sheets, actually is an investment in higher productivity and more engagement," he said, noting that he sees a difference in employees who take paternity leave.

"They are that much more focused and energized on providing value," he said. "They see what we invested in them and they want to help make TOMS successful."

And Mycoskie's wife said that she agrees: "I think paternity leave is so important for a family because the opportunity for Blake to stay home with us and Summit's first days of life, we'll never be able to get that back."

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