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These Companies Are Doing Parental Leave Right

From Generous Paid Leave to Adoption Benefits, These 7 Companies Understand the Importance of Caring for Employees' Whole Selves

It's well known that the United States is the only developed country without a paid parental leave policy.

As of 2018, only 17% of U.S. workers had access to paid parental leave.


Thankfully, some companies are stepping up and creating parental leave policies that ensure moms and dads can take the paid time off that they need as they grow their families.

Because it's not just women who need time off to care for and bond with their children. Women, men, children, companies and society at large all benefit when companies offer paid parental leave.

And when men take parental leave, women are less likely to take sick leave and experience post-partum depression.

Not to mention, offering and encouraging men to take parental leave helps mitigate the penalty mother's face for taking time off to care for children. Encouraging moms and dads to take paid leave can help set the tone from the start that it's not just mothers who should shoulder the burden of childcare.

Want to work for a company that knows how important it is to support new parents? Read on to learn what these 6 companies are doing to support parents after they welcome a new child and how it's benefitted their employees.

How These Companies Handle Parental Leave — And What Their Employees Have to Say

Vrbo

  • Vrbo offers up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave (yes, dads, too!) for eligible new parents with at least one year of service.
  • Vrbo provides a new parent benefit of $500

"I feel lucky that I was able to find a great job at Vrbo where this benefit was available and I wasn't in a position where I had to make a choice between spending time with my new baby or going back to work earlier for financial reasons." – Alanna Dayton, HR Generalist

"My husband and I both work for Vrbo and we are so thankful for the 12 weeks of paternity leave and 18 weeks of maternity leave Expedia Group offers. We're grateful for the time we've had to learn about our new family and new normal." – Mairin Heard Annen, Marketing Manager

Chainalysis

In the event of any full-time employee's birth, adoption, or fostering of a child, Chainalysis will give an employee who is the primary* caregiver for the new child 12 weeks of paid leave (full compensation). This leave runs concurrently with your state's or countries leave policies.** An additional 4 weeks of unpaid (with benefits) leave will be granted upon request and with the employee's manager's approval. Chainalysis will also grant full-time employees who are not the child's primary caregivers up to 4 weeks of paid leave (full compensation).

We encourage our employees to take the full amount of their leave.

"Chainalysis was incredibly supportive both before, during, and after my maternity leave. Leadership was respectful of my time away, but also remained mindful of my career goals and never underestimated me. The transition back to work was pretty seamless and I appreciated their flexibility while both baby and I got used to daycare."

- Hannah Spellmeyer, Global Talent Acquisition Manager

S&P Global

At S&P Global, we view our offerings as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship we have with our people while providing yet another way to invest in them and our business. Our benefits philosophy is predicated on a panoramic view of the person and a holistic view of the world in which our people live and work every day. This is why we found it important to expand our parental leave practices in 2019. S&P Global team members in the U.S. are now eligible to take up to 18 weeks of paid parental leave upon the birth, adoption, surrogacy or foster care placement of a child.

"Having a supportive and inclusive parental leave policy means that S&P Global truly cares about its employees. Not many companies give almost half a year of paid leave when starting or growing a family. Having this option encouraged me to start my family now, and I will forever be grateful to S&P for giving me that opportunity."

- Kolbie Owens, People Team, Recruiter

Bloomberg LP

Bloomberg's gender neutral parental leave policy grants primary caregivers – male or female – 24 weeks of fully paid parental leave, plus 10 transition days (one day off per week for 10 consecutive weeks) immediately following an employee's return to work. The policy serves as a new global minimum standard following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

Secondary caregivers will continue to receive four weeks of fully-paid leave.

Read more about the policy here.

Zapier

Zapier offers 14 weeks paid leave for new parents.

"Zapier's Parental leave policy was one of the reasons I wanted to work here. When I joined Zapier, I was still a few years away from having kids. But I think a parental leave policy shows the character of a company. It shows that a company cares about its employees. It shows they consider everything from work/life balance to mental and emotional health to how workplace policies impact the entire family not just the employee in the policies they make.

Once I became pregnant, I got to see these policies implemented first hand. In a time of change and uncertainty, the one thing I didn't worry about was taking time unpaid or trying to juggle work and a new baby. Zapier offers 14 weeks fully paid Parental Leave. For those 14 weeks I unplugged from work and focused entirely on my new baby and my own recovery.

My transition back to work was really hard, as it often is for new parents, but I felt supported through it. My coworkers were universally supportive in those weeks. Many are parents themselves and offered advice on navigating this transition. My manager created an 're-boarding' plan to help ease me back into work and encouraged me to take the time I needed adjusting back to work. I picked my baby up early from daycare and visited him over lunch every day in those first few weeks. Knowing that I had a team and manager who understood what a challenging time it was made all the difference for me.

I'm a mom and I want to pursue my career. It is a constant balancing act and it is always going to be hard. Zapier's parental leave policy and culture of supporting parents makes it that much easier."

- Beth Hills, Product Manager

"One of my favorite things here at Zapier is our #fun-moms channel. We have a #fun-parenthood channel there too, but it's great to have a place to talk about stuff that's a little more specific to mom life - like how to pump on Zoom calls. We're all in this together, and I really appreciate a space to share our experiences and learn from one another."

- Erika Klics, Recruiter

YouCanBook.me

  • 12 weeks fully paid maternity leave, with the option to take up to 52 weeks total (for US and UK employees, payment adheres to the UK's Statutory Maternity Pay policy)
  • 4 weeks fully paid paternity leave, with the option to take another 4 weeks (fully paid) 6 months later

"I'm lucky in that YCBM's paternity leave is far more progressive than most, which clearly recognizes the role of the father in this truly life changing event. I was given time to not only adjust but also enjoy the special early days of bringing a new baby into the world. This meant the world to me and I feel we were really able to enjoy those early days together as a family."

- Jonathan, Head of Product

Greenhouse Software

Greenhouse provides new parents, including primary, secondary, and adoptive caregivers, 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

Some additional perks we offer include:

  • Free grocery delivery up to $200 within the first month after new child arrives
  • Greenhouse care package - includes a Greenhouse onesie, an item off their baby registry or gift card to Baby Store/Amazon (up to $50), and a card signed by the employee's team.
  • Urbansitter membership
  • Travel stipend of $200 (before tax) per day toward childcare when an employee is on an approved business trip for parents with children age 5 and under [OR] the equivalent amount in a flight and/or travel expenses for the child and, if necessary, the caretaker to come along.
  • Flexible return-to-work schedule/reboarding: Employee partners with their manager and the People Team to figure out a plan that works for the business and the employee.

Fertility, Egg Freezing & Adoption Benefit:
In order to support employees who plan to become new parents, we use WageWorks to reimburse 80% of eligible fertility treatment, egg freezing, and/or adoption costs up to $8,000 every two years.

"Having an amazing policy for all different kinds of families demonstrates the care and investment Greenhouse makes in their team. Personally as a new mom, it meant I had the support from my team to take time and physically recover from childbirth, bond with my son, and get used to this new life stage.

I have a great relationship with my leadership team and welcomed personal check-ins at various points throughout my leave to see baby photos...and eventually discuss my transition back to work as it got closer. The first week back is hard no matter what and my Director and VP were so thoughtful.

They treated my first few weeks as a reboarding period, so they helped me get up to speed on what changed while I was away and gave me time to catch up with people. They greeted me when I arrived, made sure that I was set up with all the necessary IT updates for my work computer, and even bought me flowers for my desk.

I had so many intense feelings around being back/not being with my son and they made sure I knew it was ok to leave early, take a walk, or talk with them about how things were going. At Greenhouse, we talk a lot about helping people feel like they can bring their whole self to work everyday and right now, my whole self is doing a balancing act.

I don't always feel confident in my ability to be a good mom and a do excellent work. The struggle is so real, and at the same time I know there's a whole team around me cheering me on as I show up everyday to figure it out."

- Liz Neff, Executive Operations Manager

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Why Female Presidential Candidates Are Still Told to Be Chill, Not Shrill

The Dated, Everyday Tech Stifling Women's Voices Shows the Importance of Diversity in Tech

"You're not like other girls. You're so...chill."

I've gotten that "compliment" from multiple guys in multiple contexts — and I'm ashamed to admit that until a few years ago, I took it as one.

Occasionally I'd wonder why. After all, anyone who knows me well knows I am the Anti-Chill: a tightly wound stress ball, ready to explode into tears at any given moment.

So what was giving these guys the wrong impression? As it turns out, it was my voice. My cool, unnaturally-deep-for-a-woman, never-shrill voice.

And if I'm honest, I always prided myself on not sounding 'like other girls.' No uptalk or high-pitched squeals of glee from me. I thought I sounded smarter and more serious. Talk about internalized misogyny.

This isn't just me though. There is a societal double bind that forces women to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the right pitch and tone for each situation.

Just consider the advice that Democratic-debate coach Christine Jahnke gave female candidates to avoid being labeled as shrill: "… go slow and low. Very purposefully slow your pace and lower the tone a bit, because that will add meaning or gravitas to whatever it is you're talking about."

In a nutshell: try and sound chill, not shrill.

What I didn't know, until recently, is how this bias against women's natural voices is being reinforced and amplified by century-old technology. (Just one of many examples of how technology designed by and for men ends up hurting women in the long-run.)

Author Tina Tallon explains this little-known fact in her recent New Yorker article, summarized below:

How 20th Century Tech Is Holding 21st Century Women Back

With the rise of commercial broadcast radio in the 1920s, women's voices began getting critiqued. As Tallon explains, station directors asserted that "women sounded 'shrill,' 'nasal,' and 'distorted.'" So when industry standards were set, directors didn't take women's voices into account.

When Congress limited the bandwidth available to each radio station in 1927, station directors set a bandwidth that would provide the minimum amount of information necessary to understand "human" speech.

They used lower voices as their benchmark, so the higher frequency components of women's speech necessary to understand certain consonants were cut, making women's voices less intelligible.

  • Researcher J.C. Steinberg asserted that, "nature has so designed woman's speech that it is always most effective when it is of soft and well-modulated tone." He explained that if a woman raised her voice on air, it would exceed the limitations of the equipment. As Tallon says, "He viewed this as a personal and biological failing on women's part, not a technical one on his."

Why You Should Care

Women have always been told to lower their voices, but this 20th century approach to sound frequencies is still accepted as the standard, literally forcing women to lower their voices if they want to be heard.

  • To this day, many algorithms and speakers distort women's speech by limiting higher frequencies, causing women's voices to lose definition and clarity.

Tallon sums it up well:

"Consequently, women are still receiving the same advice that they were given in the nineteen-twenties: lower the pitch of your voice, and don't show too much emotion. By following that advice, women expose themselves to another set of criticisms, which also have a long history: they lack personality, or they sound 'forced' and 'unnatural.'"


----

So as we continue to grapple with implicit biases against women, from what it means to be "presidential" to who's considered an "innovative leader," let's remember the importance of diversity in tech.

Had a woman been involved in researching/setting the standards for radio frequencies, she might've been able to steer the industry towards a voiceband that would allow men and women to be heard equally well. And perhaps had a more impartial voiceband been established, I'd have heard a more diverse range of female speakers growing up, and internalized fewer biases myself.

That's why we care so much at PowerToFly about making sure cutting-edge companies have diverse teams.

Times were different then, sure, but the fact that Depression Era standards are still impacting how we hear (or don't hear) women's voices is a vital reminder that what we do today impacts our world for centuries to come.

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