The state of paid parental leave in the U.S. is sadly still lacking compared to other developed countries. Just 13% of private sector women are eligible for paid leave through their employer, and one in four mothers are back at work only two weeks after giving birth.
Thankfully, companies have begun to realize that offering employees generous parental leave policies isn’t just the morally right thing to do — it’s a business imperative, with benefits for both parents (higher job satisfaction) and employer (improved bottom lines). And if your company is looking to become more competitive in the paid leave arena, one organization that’s setting a particularly standout example of what world-class parental leave benefits can look like is Pinterest.
During a recent PL+US webinar with Fairygodboss Co-founder and President Romy Newman, Pinterest’s Head of Global Benefits Alice Vichaita shared exactly what those enviable benefits entail — as well as the positive impact they’ve had on her company’s culture.
“Pinterest has always been a family friendly environment to work in… but I think we’re definitely going through a phase where we’re seeing a ton of babies and people starting families for the first time,” Vichaita said. “It’s exciting and the company also really embraces that. I feel families are a big part of the Pinterest culture, and the idea is to not only be inclusive and have a strong emphasis on diversity, but also the inclusion of families and ways of having families, as well.
“I believe strong family benefits will create a lot of loyalty,” she added. “And our employees are extremely grateful for the benefits that they have.”
So, what exactly are those benefits? Vichaita breaks it down for us below.
1. Long — and fully paid — leave, for mothers and fathers.
Pinterest provides new moms, dads, and adoptive parents with 16 fully paid weeks of parental leave post-birth or post-adoption. New moms who utilize Pregnancy Disability Leave can take additional time off on top of those 16 weeks with doctor’s certification.
“This allows us to give moms, dads, and adoptive parents the same benefit to bond with their new baby after the baby is born or adopted,” Vichaita said.
2. Gradual return to work.
Even after a properly long leave, returning to work for new parents can be difficult, especially for moms who may be grappling with their emotional and physical well-being and recovery. That’s why Pinterest offers a gradual, phased-in return to work that allows new parents to work on a part-time schedule, settled on between themselves and their manager, for four weeks.
3. Child care assistance.
Given the exorbitant cost of child care in this country, the fact Pinterest is willing to aid employees with these expenses is no small perk.
“Employees can take advantage of a free year of UrbanSitter membership,” Vichaita said. “You can use it to find a nanny or a mom’s helper after school, for the weekend or during the week, whatever you need. We cover the membership fee and then we also provide a small credit employees can use.”
4. Hospital-grade breast pumps at the office.
If new moms at your company are still pumping in the utility closet, this is one perk that may seem too good to be true. Not only does Pinterest offer a “mother’s room” in each of its buildings, but the rooms also come equipped with hospital-grade pumps.
“This way moms don’t have to carry the pump back everywhere they go, so that’s convenient,” she added.
5. A deluxe baby gift — complete with everything from prenatal massages to sleep training.
Talk about offering all the bells and whistles. New parents at Pinterest receive a baby gift that not only includes a Pinterest onesie and baby hoodie — as if that wasn’t covetable enough — but also four free sessions on topics that impact growing families.
“They’re either one-on-one sessions that a mom could have with a lactation consultant, for example, or sessions for the whole family — say, one on infant CPR,” Vichaita explained. “It can be as big or intimate as the employee chooses, with advice that covers everything from setting up the registry or nursery to parenting styles.”
There are more than 30 sessions to choose from, and not all of them are purely educational — prenatal massage and a night with a doula also make the cut.
“Some employees are saving their last session for sleep training, in case the baby regresses; there’s no time limit they have to use these four sessions within,” she said. “Some are using their sessions for an older child, maybe one who’s a picky eater — they can also help with that.”
Is the progressiveness of Pinterest’s policies waking you up to how outdated your own company’s offerings are? You may want to check out Fairygodboss’ maternity leave database, which categorizes companies in accordance to how generous their policies are. Find a job at a company where families are prioritized; not simply tolerated.