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Parental leave is steadily becoming ubiquitous around the world, but workplace cultures in many countries continue to prevent employees — especially fathers
— from taking time off.
Why it matters: Paid leave not only benefits families but also makes people likelier to re-enter the workforce, experts say. And in the U.S., as the labor market tightens, robust time off policies for new parents is emerging as one way to attract talent.
What's happening: While the U.S. is an outlier, other developed nations in Europe and Asia do offer extensive leave. Still, there's a gap between passing laws and actually getting people to take the time off.
In a recent study, Weisshaar tested employer perceptions of parental leave by sending three types of resumes and cover letters for open roles: people who currently held jobs, people who stated they were unemployed due to layoffs, and people who said they had chosen to stay home for a while to take care of children.
The big picture: There's a strong economic case to be made for parental leave — and paternity leave specifically, Barrons' Matthew Klein writes.
The bottom line: "The culture of being family friendly is one of the amenities of a job," says Heather Royer, an economist at UC, Santa Barbara, and one of the authors of the NBER paper. "Having family leave and having people take it creates this feeling that the firm values like outside of work, and that can make people happier when they're working."
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
China's birth rate fell to its lowest in 60 years in 2019, spelling potential danger for the country's economic health.
Why it matters: "While many countries are struggling with low fertility rates and aging populations, these issues are even more pressing in China, because the country’s underdeveloped social safety net means that most older adults rely heavily on their families to pay for health care, retirement and other expenses," the New York Times' Sui-Lee Wee and Steven Lee Myers write from Beijing.
"The Chinese government is extremely concerned about what it sees as a demographic crisis," says Leta Hong Fincher, a journalist and China expert. "This is going to remain a major, major flash point for many years to come.
By the numbers:
One driver of the trend is the rise of educated, working Chinese women who are delaying or forgoing marriage (the marriage rate is falling alongside the birth rate).
Worth noting, from Allen-Ebrahimian: The declining birth rate isn’t the only reason for the Chinese government's war on women — the "one child" policy resulted in more male babies than female babies, and a large population of unmarried men is destabilizing on a social level. So the government wants to get as many women married as possible.
Go deeper: The aging, childless future
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Ten states have introduced bills in 2020 that would regulate, ban or study facial recognition systems, per the Georgetown Law Center on Privacy and Technology, Axios' Orion Rummler writes.
The big picture: There is no federal regulation of this tech, despite consensus for guardrails from its creators and bipartisan support for its restraint in Congress.
What's new: States weren't as interested in facial recognition tech last year, according to Hayley Tsukayama, an expert at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But city-wide bans in Oakland, San Francisco and Cambridge set precedents.
The backdrop: Big Tech companies selling facial recognition systems — like IBM, Microsoft and Amazon — have asked federal policymakers to judge how government agencies and law enforcement use the tech.
Computer image of Woven City. Photo: Courtesy of Toyota
The rise of autonomous vehicle testbed cities (Joann Muller — Axios)
How to navigate the world of subscriptions (Brian Chen — NYT)
Inside the Feds' fight against Huawei (Garrett Graff — Wired)
Every place is the same now (Ian Bogost — The Atlantic)
The Craigslist of guns (Colin Lecher, Sean Campbell — The Verge)
Kyoto's robotic priest. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images
There's a brand new priest at a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto. He delivers sermons and walks among the worshippers — and he's a robot.
Worth noting: This isn't the first time we've seen a robot priest. Indian researchers debuted a Hindu version in 2017, per Vox.
Thanks for reading!