That’s according to a new poll from YouGov/HuffPost, which found that 69 percent of Americans thought that companies should be required to offer paid maternity leave for female employees, while only 49 percent thought that companies should offer paid paternity leave for male employees. (Thirty-six percent of Americans didn’t think that companies should be required to offer paternity leave, and 15 percent weren’t sure.)
The split reflects the gender gap that still persists in the broader debate around paid leave. All three Democratic candidates support paid family leave that includes not only new mothers and fathers, but also workers who take time off to take care of ailing parents and other relatives. But when the issue comes up, the debate still focuses overwhelmingly on new mothers—not fathers—as during the first Democratic debate.
That said, the issue is gaining new visibility as high-profile companies have embraced paid leave for both mothers and fathers—most recently with Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that he’d be taking off two months (though not the company’s full allotment of four months) to spend time with his first child, whose birth he and his wife announced today.