Companies are beginning to respect the role of parents in the workplace, but progress is still slow. While cities across the country like Washington D.C. are passing legislation to offer private sector employees paid parental leave, there are still far too many places where parents can't afford to take time off with their children. If you are planning to have a child, it might be worth noting which major U.S. companies offer paid parental leave to their employees — not just the mothers, but the fathers and same-sex parents too.
The Family And Medical Leave Act mandates that full-time employees should be offered 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave to women working for a company with 50 employees or more. Only 12 percent of the full-time working population in the United States gets paid parental leave, according to Forbes. In cities like Washington, San Francisco, and New York, generous paid parental leave legislation has been passed to compensate private sector employees. Washington's new legislation, passed on Tuesday, offers all full- and part-time employees of the city 90 percent of their wages for eight weeks. Non-profit workers and those who are self-employed are also covered, as are people living outside the city as long as those employees work in Washington. While this is certainly progress, some major U.S. companies have also been taking up the torch to offer parents of all kinds compensated leave.
Tech companies in particular have been ahead of the curve in offering parental leave benefits: online retailer of handmade goods Etsy changed its previous benefit program, which offered mothers 12 weeks of paid leave and fathers just five weeks, to six months of paid leave for all parents, regardless of gender, or whether the child arrived by adoption or birth. The Brooklyn-based Etsy joined tech giants like Swedish music service Spotify, tech company Adobe, and Netflix in offering parents of all kinds six months of fully paid parental leave (although Netflix hourly employees are offered 16 weeks; the six month parental leave was reserved for salaried employees).
Other tech companies to offer their employees superior paid parental benefits include:
- eBay (26 weeks)
- Microsoft (20 weeks)
- Google (20 weeks)
- Amazon (20 weeks)
While Apple was at the head of the trend to offer paid parental leave, with pregnant mothers able to take four weeks of leave before the baby is born and fourteen weeks after, fathers are only offered six weeks. Apple also offers egg-freezing benefits. Facebook offers a similar parental leave, (four months for all parents); employees have said Facebook offers more of a "baby-friendly" environment, with breast-feeding rooms, egg-freezing services, and $4,000 in "baby cash," according to TIME.
Some non-tech companies are offering paid parental leave as well:
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (one full year of parental leave, yowsers!)
- Bloomberg (18 weeks for primary caregiver, four weeks for non-primary caregiver)
- American Express (beginning Jan. 1, American Express will be offering parental leave for 20 weeks, with mothers who need medical leave offered an additional six to eight weeks. For parents who are pursuing adoption, the company will offer up to $35,000 to help with the costs)
- Ikea (four months for all employees, salaried and hourly)
The United States continues to lag behind all other developed countries in the paid parental leave department; there is no federal law mandating any form of parental leave. At least there are some companies willing to fill the gaping hole left by the federal government.