When Men Take Paternity Leave, the Economy Benefits

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took paternity leave and, while he nested, the critics feasted.

“Loser” and “a little weird”" were among the more printable reactions after he and his husband, Chasten, took their twins home. The onslaught neatly encapsulated the stigma that’s kept some working fathers from taking advantage of such family policies, despite the social and economic benefits.

“Isn’t that supposed to be for the person who gave birth?” commentator and television host Joe Rogan asked during his Tuesday podcast, before declaring that it was strange for parents to get maternity and paternity leave simultaneously.

Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of Palantir Technologies Inc. and a prolific venture capitalist, piled on, tweeting Wednesday that any prominent man who takes six months off to care for his child is “a loser.”

Buttigieg, who adopted Penelope Rose and Joseph August this year and announced his leave in August, said in an interview with ABC News that some good came of the criticism, because it started a conversation.

“We’re almost the only country left in the world that doesn't have some kind of policy … and when parents take that parental leave, they need to be supported,” he said. “If there’s this idea that maybe men have access to paternity leave but it’s frowned on if they actually use it … that carries with it this assumption that the woman’s going to do all the work.”