Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to take two months of paternity leave

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday he would take two months paternity leave after the birth of his daughter.

Silicon Valley technology firms had rushed to extend parental leave allowances as also other benefits as they attempted to recruit and retain talent, though many workers choose not to take advantage for fear of falling behind at work or missing out on promotions.

Facebook, the world's biggest online social network, allowed its US employees to take up to four months of paid maternity or paternity leave, which could all be availed at once or throughout the first year of their child's life, a policy which was generous by US standards.

Zuckerberg announced in July that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were expecting a baby girl.

According to a 2015 study by the Society for Human Resource Management 21 per cent of employers it surveyed offered paid maternity leave, and 17 per cent provided paid paternity leave.

"This is a very personal decision," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page, along with a picture of a stroller, a yellow baby carrier and his dog, Beast. Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook, "Priscilla and I are starting to get ready for our daughter's arrival. We've been picking out our favorite childhood books and toys.

"We've also been thinking about how we're going to take time off during the first months of her life. This is a very personal decision, and I've decided to take two months of paternity leave when our daughter arrives.

"Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families. At Facebook we offer our US employees up to 4 months of paid maternity or paternity leave which they can take throughout the year.

"Every day things are getting a little more real for us, and we're excited to start this next stage in our lives."