Giving Birth at Yahoo – Good / Bad Polices?
Posted on October 16, 2015
If you are the business leader of a small to medium size business, you may care less what the fortune 100 tech companies offer their employees, but you should…
Tech companies, famously on the forefront of creative and generous benefits and perks, have recently been pushing the envelope in the area of new parent benefits.
Netflix announced in early August their new maternity and paternity leave policy, allowing new parents to take unlimited paid parental leave during the year following the birth or adoption of a child.
Microsoft increased their paid maternity leave allotment from 12 weeks to 20 weeks. Yahoo increase their paid maternity leave to 16 weeks and paid paternity leave to 8 weeks. IBM instituted a plan to help breast-feeding mothers who are on business trips ship their breast milk home for free. Facebook and Apple announced new benefits allowing their female employees to harvest and freeze their eggs, deferring child-rearing.
It’s interesting, especially in light of the fact that woman are underrepresented in the tech industry, with only about 25% of tech employees being female. Yet, this recent surge in maternity benefits could be interpreted as an effort to attract more female employees to the industry.
All these new perks sound exciting, but how many employees will actually take advantage of them? Companies create these policies but then send out mixed signals, and employees who take advantage of them find themselves victims of peer pressure.
Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, recently announced she was pregnant was twins and announced she would only be taking as little as 2 weeks of maternity leave, and working throughout. It’s not a big surprise, this is the same woman who only took 2 weeks of maternity leave for the birth of her first child, and also famously eliminated Yahoo’s flexible work from home policies not long after taking the helm at Yahoo.
What is the message they are sending? IBM will ship home breast milk but they are still sending that new mother on a business trip. Yahoo will give a new mother a paid 16 week leave, but clearly the culture at the organization is not to take the full allotment of leave.
It will be interesting to see over time if employees are taking advantage of these new policies, and if they will spread to other industries, or even to the nation as a whole, as the United States remains the only developed country in the world that does not require paid leave for new mothers.
This article was written by Lauren Sims, an eqHR Solutions Principal Consultant.
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