The Danger of Freedom: People Do What They Want to Do, Not What You Think They Should Want to Do

October 2, 2018

Delray Beach, FL – A Boston-based “people analytics firm” named Humanyze has instituted a mandatory parental leave policy for male employees. The motive is to “equalize” the work/parent experience.

Why is it mandatory? Why not just give fathers the option?

Because when given the freedom to choose, Humanyze’s CEO explained to the WSJ, two problematic things happen:

  1. The great majority of men do not take the time off. Even though they can, they choose to continue working.
  2. And the great majority of women choose to stay home. The fact that their husbands are free to take time off and help them out doesn’t seem to matter.

This is what happened in Denmark after men were given the legal right to paternity leave. The hope was that by forcing businesses to give fathers the option, many of them would take it and thereby do more of their “fair share” of the baby care. This would, in turn, give mothers the opportunity to spend more time in the office in pursuit of furthering their careers. But, in fact, the percentage of women that took parental leave actually increased to 92.8%.

One might conclude that, when given the freedom to choose, men and women do what they want to do, following their baked-into-the-bones preferences. Or, as the CEO of Humanyze apparently thinks, these are preferences that can be corrected with a little dose of force.