It’s time you will never get back. You blink and your children are all grown up.

That’s why there is a growing trend to give parents, including dads, paid time off to spend with their newborn or adopted babies.

“It’s a time you’ll never get back and I think the advice I would give is to look forward 10 years,” Robin Roark said. “What are you going to remember – two more weeks at work? Or would you remember two more weeks that you’re never going to get back? They really are special times.” 

Roark is currently on paid paternity leave. He works for McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm.  

McKinsey & Company offers 16 weeks of maternity leave or eight weeks of parental leave, and potential for additional unpaid leave up to one year total including paid and unpaid. McKinsey also provides eight weeks of paid leave for non-birth parents, as well as continuous health care coverage for those who choose to take additional time off. Employees don’t have to take all of their time off consecutively.  

“I struggled at first with the idea of taking leave, but I can tell you McKinsey is really a team sport and I’ve been both impressed and inspired by the way people have stepped up to cover me while I’m out. I think it’s something that can be great for the health of an organization,” said Roark.

Roark is in the midst of taking four weeks off after the birth of his second child. He plans to take the additional time off at a later time.  

Roark explains the time off is allowing he and his wife time to not only cherish these fleeting days of caring for their newborn son together, but it’s also a way of showing his commitment to family.

“In my typical day to day work, I am traveling three to four days a week. I go to Latin America, sometimes Europe, I’m all over the place,” he said. “While I love what I do, I realize it’s important to be at home and we recognize the importance on our children, our marriage and even for me. When I stepped back and thought about it there really was no question. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Roark went on to say it helped he and his wife define roles and responsibilities around the house and develop good habits early. He’s looking forward to going back to work refreshed with a balanced home and work life.

Labor statistics show 70 percent of men are taking less than 10 days of paid time off, but for many new moms, the help of a hands-on dad is invaluable.

“With our first baby, he didn’t get much time because he was fairly new on the job,” said Amber Miller, the wife of Tampa Fire Department Lt. Garrett Miller.

The Millers just had their third child. Because then-Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the city implemented new paternity guidelines for employees, city workers now get two paid weeks of time off for new dads.

For Lt. Miller, the time off was a welcome relief. Time to spend with his newborn and two toddlers.

“With my wife going through a third C-section it was stressful have two other kids while having a newborn,” he said. “So having that extra time to help take care of the kids and take care of her and the newborn made a huge difference.”

Lt. Miller is now back in action with the Tampa Fire Department. His family life at home is balanced and peaceful – making the return to work that much easier.