Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg is taking time off when his daughter arrives. As both he and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, have been working on getting everything ready for their first child’s arrival, Zuckerberg said that he’ll be taking two months off to tend to his family.
Zuckerberg’s extended departure is notable because he’s casting a spotlight on the changing landscape of maternity and paternity leave. Facebook allows its employees to take four months off, and “extended” maternity / paternity leave is being provided by more and more tech companies, including Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and others.
“Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.
In July, Zuckerberg revealed in an extremely personal note that he and his wife were expecting a baby. He shared that the couple had been trying for a while, but had had three miscarriages along the way. “You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child,” he wrote at the time. “You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”
Over the past few months, during town hall meetings, the Facebook CEO had been besieged by well-wishers congratulating him about his growing family.
At a town hall event in September, he was asked about what he’d want for his daughter by the time she’s 16. He responded that he hoped for “a more open world that was safe for her to be who she is, expressing herself freely; a more connected world where people she loves are nearby; a more equal world where she’d have more opportunities regardless of gender; a world of wonder where there’s so many ways to explore all the new things; a re-imagined education system; a world with much less suffering, without disease, war, without a lot of unnecessary pains today. That’s what I’d want for her.”
Of course, with Zuckerberg making plans to spend those first few months with his daughter, the question remains — who will take over at Facebook during his absence? That’s still unclear, but it’s probably going to be chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. In fact, the company is anything but short on executive members who can step up in lieu of Zuckerberg. When reached for comment, a Facebook spokesperson declined to comment, referring us to Zuckerberg’s post.