Parental Leave in the IT Industry

Tech industry might be one of the most flexible when it comes to parental leave.

Working in IT and Need to Take Parental Leave?

If you work in the tech industry and need to take family or maternal/parental leave, your industry might be one of the most flexible regarding your much-needed time away. While a 2017 survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that only 13% of private-industry employees had access to paid family leave (PFL) through their employer, tech companies started to realize the importance of flexible paid leave policies in attracting and keeping talent. In recent years, tech giants have been setting the tone for how these benefits roll out.

Before we jump into which company offers what, examining the laws surrounding parental leave is valuable. Currently, New York, California, New Jersey, and others are offering Family Leave Insurance Program Provisions, which grant eligible employees paid leave for the arrival of a new child by birth, adoption, or foster care. However, no federal law requires private-sector employers to offer PFL, making the US the only developed country in the world that does not provide benefits to its citizens. Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), certain employees are allowed 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year, but only if their employer meets specific requirements. 

According to the National Partnership for Women & Families, offering PFL to both men and women attracts talent and improves team member retention (reducing turnover costs for companies), increases worker productivity, improves employee loyalty and morale, and allows small businesses to compete with larger firms. No wonder tech companies are rethinking their paid leave policies.

At Amazon, all employees have access to the same parental leave and benefits, regardless of job title. Birth mothers get 20 weeks of paid leave, while fathers and adoptive parents receive six weeks of paid parental leave; the paid leave can be taken continuously or split up as needed within 12 months of the child's birth or adoption. The company also offers Leave Share, which allows employees to "gift" their time to their partner, and The Ramp Back program, which helps new parents to have more flexibility on the job. Top that with monetary assistance for adoption, artificial insemination, and mothers' rooms in their offices, and you get a comprehensive parent support plan.

Adobe offers mothers who have just given birth a total of 26 weeks of fully-paid time off, and all parents (including adoptive or foster) are given 16 weeks of paid time off. Additionally, employees can receive adoption and surrogacy assistance that reimburses employees up to $25,000 for eligible expenses. The company also provides up to 100 hours of backup childcare, fertility support, and breast milk transportation via Milk Stork for nursing mothers who may be away from home on business.

At Microsoft, all employees, including subcontractors, are granted paid parental leave. Birth mothers are eligible for 20 weeks of paid leave; dads, adoptive parents, and foster parents are offered 12 weeks of paid parental leave. They also provide assistance with fertility treatments, Welcome Baby boxes, and mothers' rooms. IBM offers similar policies, in addition to reimbursing employees up to $20,000 for adoption or surrogacy expenses and up to $50,000 for applicable services for children with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities.

Benefits for Google employees in the US include 22-24 weeks of paid leave for mothers who give birth and 12 weeks for non-birthing parents. Google also offers mothers' rooms in its offices, backup childcare, internal parent support groups, parent gurus, and peer mentoring from other parents. Netflix takes a more liberal approach, allowing parents to decide how much time off they need to care for and bond with their new child. The average leave time for parents is four to eight months, but some employees take up to one year. During their parental leave, employees can work a flexible schedule, part-time or not at all, while still receiving full-time pay.

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