The aspect of formal support that companies were the least likely to report was a person/group designated to encourage fathers to take leave. Only two percent of companies reported this in 1993, while only seven percent reported this in 2006.
The only formal measure reported by a majority of companies in 2006 was having a man in top management take leave. We asked how often men in top management took parental leave in 2006 (but not in 1993), and only one third (34%) of companies reported this occurred "rather often" or "very often." Therefore, for most companies, top management is still sending the message that a father at the top taking parental leave is not everyday workplace practice.
To examine whether it was becoming more normative for fathers to take leave, we compared leave usage rates for fathers in the two years, and found a statistically significant increase (see Table 1).
We looked to see if there was perhaps a curvilinear relationship of company support with business climate variables by 2006, where some companies might see it as a good idea to encourage fathers to take leave as a way to reduce costs or boost productivity, while others did the opposite, but there was none.
The amount of support companies can show fathers who take leave will likely be limited, however, until a more basic change in organizational values occurs.
Sweden was the first nation to offer fathers paid parental leave and has arguably made the most effort over time to encourage fathers to take leave. It is therefore an interesting setting to study why mothers still take the vast majority of days available.
The majority have not made a formal decision to support fathers taking leave, implemented special programs to encourage fathers to take leave, kept records about fathers' leave use or designated someone to encourage fathers to take leave.