Twitter's Parental Leave Policy: Something Tweet-Worthy!
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A bit like unisex jeans, gender neutral parental leave is catching on!
Twitter has just announced a that any employee (male, female, heterosexual or not) who becomes a new parent of a newborn child will enjoy 20 weeks of fully paid time off. This makes Twitter part of a small group of companies that don’t try to identify who is a “primary” caretaker for a baby, nor draw a distinction between maternity leave and paternity leave.
Previously, Twitter had offered 20 weeks of paid maternity leave to mothers but fathers and adoptive parents only received 10 paid weeks of family leave. Their more generous, new policy will go into effect on May 1 for U.S. employees and by July 1 for the company’s international employee base.
Offering different parental leave policies for the purposes of bonding is not allowed under federal law. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the EEOC has said that “leave related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions may be limited to women affected by those conditions, but parental leave must be provided to similarly situated mean and women on the same terms. If, for example, an employer extends leave to new mothers beyond the period of recuperation from childbirth, it cannot lawfully refuse to provide an equivalent amount of leave to new fathers for the same purpose.”
Offering generous parental leave is one thing, but how many men and fathers actually take it? It may be instructive to look at some employers with above-average paternity leave policies such as Yahoo, Bank of America and EY who currently offer new fathers 8, 12 and 6 paid weeks of leave, respectively. According to one study as reported by WSJ, though 85% of new fathers take some time off after the birth of a child, the vast majority only take 1-2 weeks of time off. Some of this may be due to the stigma or fear of not being seen as not dedicated to their work. For others, getting their full allotment of time means self-identifying as the children’s ‘primary caretaker.’
A case study from abroad also points to the difference between policy and practice. In the UK, it’s been over a year since the Shared Parental Leave law was implemented. This policy allows fathers and mothers to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay after the birth or adoption of a child. This is a benefit that many Americans would no doubt, love to see implemented. However, less than 2% of the eligible fathers have taken up their rights under the law this year. As reported by the FT, the main reasons were that men “felt unable to because of the impact on their careers and earning ability.”
Even at the most progressive employers who have implemented gender neutral parental leave policies, fathers are not taking their full allotment of leave. Take for example, Facebook where CEO Mark Zuckerberg made headlines for taking 2 months of paternity leave (half of what was available to him). Men at the company have reported that fathers have an average of 2+ months of leave whereas a majority of new mothers at Facebook have taken their full 4 months of leave, according to the New York Times.
This is why Twitter is not only implementing a new policy but also bringing in trainers to help managers understand how to manage their teams when employees take advantage of their leave policies and the increased workloads. As Twitter’s director of compensation and benefits Laura Brady told Fortune, “Education is critical”.
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Does anyone here work for a major financial institution in the new york metropolitan area? I have yet to find a straight answer on the internet or the company website regarding when my eligibilty for 16 week paid maternity leave would start. Are paid maternity leave benefits usually the same across the board for all major financial firms? I just found out I am pregnant (in my first trimester) and by the time I take my maternity leave I would be only nine months in my new job. Would like to hear about your company's eligibility requirements for paid maternity leave here please. Thank you so much...
I recently got engaged, will be married October 2017. My fiance and I want to start a family right away. My job does not have paid maternity leave. Would it be premature for me to advocate for paid leave? My initial thought process was to figure this out as soon as possible. Maybe I should start looking for another job; researching other companies I noticed that most (all the one's that I saw) require employees to have been employed for a year before being offered paid maternity leave.
If I could have my way I would stay where I am at and get paid leave.
I have a positive relationship with my boss and can talk about this with him, however; he isn't the one who ultimately makes this decision, corporate does.
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Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?
I'm 12 weeks pregnant and just met with HR to find out about our Maternity Leave program only to learn that they only give us unpaid leave (you have to file for state disability to get your 55% salary during those weeks) In talking with other moms, I found they all came back early (because who can really afford to take a big pay cut when you have a new little one to tend to?)
It never occurred to me to check because kids weren't on the radar when I applied for the job, but I'm totally disheartened that my company that "prides itself" on caring about its people doesn't have something better in place. Has anyone gone to HR to see about improving their policies? I know as a whole our organization had a 12 year tenure when I started and a pretty high average age, so it may have not been on their radar, but I'm shocked that they aren't more progressive. Any advice??