Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will take long paternity leave, and that’s a good thing

On Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on his personal Facebook that he and his wife Priscilla Chan had welcomed a new baby girl, August.

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, August 28, 2017

In his open letter to his second daughter, Zuckerberg painted a rosy picture of the world she and her sister Maxima, “Max,” would grow up in —with the help of Zuckerberg’s social media company and the family’s billion-dollar philanthropy, of course.

“With all the advances in science and technology, your generation should live dramatically better lives than ours, and we have a responsibility to do our part to make that happen,” he wrote. “We’re optimists about your generation and the future.”

Leaders set the tone for parental leave

Zuckerberg said that he will take two months of paternity leave for the birth of his new daughter. By doing so, he sets the tone for the rest of his company that it is okay to do so, even at the highest levels of executive leadership.

“At Facebook, we offer four months of maternity and paternity leave because studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, it’s good for the entire family,” Zuckerberg wrote in his explanation of why he was taking time off.

Studies back Zuckerberg up. Research shows that paid parental leave gives children more-involved fathers, keeps women in the workforce, and increases middle-class family incomes. And it helps companies’ bottom-lines too. Paid parental leave improves employee retention and increases workers’ productivity.

So when Zuckerberg says he is taking paternity leave, he is doing it for the family benefit of “bonding with our new little one,” as he has said. But he’s also doing it as a public example for the rest of the tech industry too.

Zuckerberg set the same example when he had his first daughter, creating a reputation for himself as a doting father.

Powerful babies

Zuckerberg also doesn’t shy away from helping his babies have strong personal brands. Although Zuckerberg has previously confirmed that his first daughter Max was named after family members, people on Twitter have speculated that the names Maxima and August were also chosen for their classical ties. Zuckerberg, a self-professed classics lover, has said that he originally planned on studying classics in college and that he loved Roman culture so much that he went there on his honeymoon.

August and Maxima are fitting names for the daughters of the leader of a social media empire. Maximus is a Roman family name that is derived from the Latin word maximus, or “greatest.” Augustus was the first Roman emperor and legend has it, he boasted this achievement by proclaiming, “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”