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Paid Parental Leave Continues to Gain Momentum in the US


Lately, a lot more American companies have been jumping on the paid paternal leave bandwagon and finally offering their employees more paid time off after having a baby. This is great news for working parents in America – because, if you’re a working parent, then you know that the struggle is very real. We’ll take a look at how some companies in the U.S. are stepping up their paid paternal leave game, even if the country as a whole still lags behind the rest of the world.

paternity leave 

(Photo Credit: JodyDigger/Flickr)

Did you know that one in four working mothers take only two weeks off after having a baby? It’s shocking and definitely not enough time to recover, let alone bond, with a new baby, but it’s the reality that many working mothers and fathers face post-baby. The Family and Medical Leave Act offers 12 weeks of unpaid leave per 12-month period for employees who qualify, which is hardly a relief when you consider how many working parents are already scrambling to make ends meet. Put simply, the state of paid parental leave in America is embarrassing – but there could be a light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to a few powerhouse players in the tech industry.

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If there’s any industry that’s going to be first in line when it comes to offering unbeatable employee perks, it’s tech. Google and Facebook have been leading the pack in parental leave for a while now, which is no surprise given their reputation for taking very good care of their employees.

Which Companies Offer the Most Leave

Google offers its employees 18 weeks of paid leave for birth mothers, 12 weeks for primary caregivers, and seven weeks for all other parents, while Facebook offers its employees 17 weeks of paid leave for all new parents, which can be used at any time during the first year.

A few months back, Netflix made an official announcement that the company would now offer an unlimited year of paid maternity and paternity leave for its employees. Shortly thereafter, tech giants Microsoft and Adobe announced they are boosting paid parental leave policies, too. Specifically, Microsoft said that it has doubled its maternity leave and increased paid parental leave, and Adobe announced that effective November 1, it will be offering its 6,000 employees 16 weeks of paid parental leave for primary caregivers and 26 weeks of paid maternity leave. Needless to say, this is a very positive shift in the right direction for paid parental leave for working parents in America – and it’s about time!

Paid Parental Leave Is a Necessity, Not a Luxury

The real issue here isn’t that working parents in America want more paid parental leave, it’s that moms and dads need more paid parental leave to bond with their new bundle(s) of joy, so moms can recover after childbirth, parents can make ends meet while on leave, and simply to adjust to the lifestyle that comes with becoming a new parent. Not only is paid parental leave incredibly beneficial for new moms and dads as parents and as employees, but it’s also great for the economy as well. In fact, a recent World Economic Forum report found that “countries with the strongest economies are those that have found ways to further women’s careers, close the gender pay gap, and keep women – who in most nations are now better educated than men – tethered to the workforce after they become mothers,” reports The Atlantic.

It’s good to see some American companies offering paid parental leave packages that resemble what other superpower nations offer their hardworking citizens. The country’s embarrassing state of parental leave is probably why so many millennials are holding off on marriage and having kids so that they can focus more on building their careers. As parental leave stands right now in the U.S., it seems professionals have a choice between building a career and starting a family, because trying to accomplish both simultaneously proves to be far too difficult for many. Maybe one day soon, having a baby can be a joyous and exciting time once again for working parents in America, rather than a time of stress, penny-pinching, and guilt. 

Tell Us What You Think

How would a paid paternity leave package change your perception of having a child while building your career? Share your thoughts with our community on Twitter or in the comments section below. 

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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JennVargas Recent comment authors
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What are they even waiting for? Make this a law already. Dads need more time off with their newborns. I’m happy my husband was with me when we had our first child. Doing it alone is just difficult. dads love to have more time with their families too. Esp my partner, he knew how hard we tried to conceive, he even had to remind me not to forget to take my free conceiveeasy bbt for my daily temp checking for… Read more »

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