Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Parental Leave

Every few years or so, the New York Times gets a bee in its bonnet about a particular issue.

      -- In 2002, it ran more than 40 articles encouraging Augusta National Golf Club, 
      home of the Masters Tournament, to begin admitting women.  And it worked. 
      Ten years later, the club admitted two women.  (Perhaps one day the Times will 
      take an interest in the many, many golf clubs in its main circulation area that do 
      not admit Jews, Asians or African Americans.)

     -- In late 2013, it took out after New Jersey's Chris Christie for Bridgegate, a 
     four-day traffic blockage on the state's end of the George Washington Bridge.  
     The presumption is that lanes were shut down to send a lesson to the mayor of 
     the city next to the bridge, who failed to endorse Christie's re-election. (There 
     are two possible reasons for this:  Either the Times wants to run Christie out 
     of the 2016 presidential race, or one of paper's senior staff members is an 
     enraged GWB commuter.)  Who knows?  The paper's intense interest in the
     matter continues to this day.

Recently -- and particularly this  summer -- the Times has been obsessed with parental leave, that is, paid leaves of four weeks to six months for both parents after the birth of a child.  When it comes to this issue, the paper is wearing its heart on its sleeve.

The coverage contends that 1) paid leaves should be provided by all employers or perhaps the federal government, 2) fathers and mothers should have equal access to parental leave, and 3) this is an inevitable battle that is beginning to be won.  The Times also is hinting strongly that the only good fathers are ones who take parental leave.

Here are the paper's recent articles, along with a few sentences from each.


Paternity Leave: The Rewards and the Remaining Stigma

If more women play the breadwinner role and more men ask for family-friendly policies, it could become hard for employers to treat them differently on the basis of gender roles.

The challenge, however, is not just persuading employers to offer paternity leave but also persuading men to take it.
by Claire Cain Miller
November 7, 2014


How Does an Uber Driver Take Family Leave?

Some of these people will be entrepreneurs, but a lot more of them will be Airbnb hosts or Instacart shoppers or freelance code writers or baristas. What do they do when they or their partner has a baby?

Whatever policy or free market solutions we devise in the coming years, they’ll be only part of the answer. The other part requires a cultural shift in how we prioritize and value parenting.
by Seth Isaacs
June 21, 2015


New Momentum on Paid Leave, in Business and Politics

Long a pet Democratic cause that seemed hopelessly far-fetched, paid leave suddenly seems less so. With pay for most workers still growing sluggishly — as it has been for most of the last 15 years — political leaders are searching for policies that can lift middle-class living standards. Companies, for their part, are becoming more aggressive in trying to retain workers as the unemployment rate has fallen below 6 percent.

Perhaps most important, researchers say, is designing policies so that both men and women use them.
by Claire Cain Miller
June 26, 2015

Netflix's Year-Long Parental Leave Raises Bar for U.S. Employers

While it could push some companies to follow in its footsteps, for others it will not be possible. Top tech firms are among the leaders in offering greater benefits to attract new talent. Facebook offers four months of paid leave for parents, while Google Inc offers at least 18 weeks of paid maternity leave.
by Reuters
August 5, 2015

Following Netflix, Microsoft Sweetens Parental Leave Benefits

Microsoft will allow new mothers and fathers to take parental leave in one continuous 12-week period or split it into two periods. Employees will be allowed to resume their jobs at Microsoft on a part-time basis after parental leave.

“For these parents to bring their best every day, they need time to take care of themselves and their family,” Kathleen Hogan, executive vice president for human resources at Microsoft, wrote in the blog post.

While Microsoft’s changes are not as generous as those announced by Netflix, they still compare well with those of other tech companies. 
by Nick Wingfield
August 5, 2015

Bringing Paternity Leave into the Mainstream

 And while some employers believe that generous maternity leave more than pays for itself in retention, there is little proof that male employees won’t experience a career stall immediately afterward if they dare to step out for a while.

This evidence cannot emerge without employers offering paid paternity leave in the first place, and most of the people (generally older, often men) who sign off on these policy changes generally haven’t seen fit to do so. Only 17 percent of the employers that the Society for Human Resource Management surveys provide fathers with the benefit.
by Ron Lieber
August 7, 2015

Farhad and Mike's Week in Review: Netflix's Not So 'Unlimited Benefits'

Perhaps the biggest news came from Netflix. On Tuesday, the streaming video company announced that it would offer “unlimited” maternity and paternity leave to its employees. While it was obviously good news for Netflix workers, the announcement generated more controversy than I would have guessed. This was partly because of the gimmicky way Netflix announced the move — it’s not “unlimited” leave, it’s unlimited during your first year after having a kid. And later on in the week, we learned that workers in Netflix’s DVD warehouse won’t be covered by the new policy.

by Farhad Manjoo
and Mike Isaacs
August 8, 2015


Adobe Is Latest to Extend Parental Leave Benefits

The move was seen as a game changer in the United States, which lags other developed countries in the amount of parental leave offered to employees. Paid maternity leave in the United States is usually about 30 days, according to Mary Tavarozzi, a senior consultant with benefit consultant group Towers Watson.
by Reuters
August 10, 2015 

Adobe to Double Leave It Offers to New Mothers

 New mothers at the California-based company will receive 26 weeks of paid leave, up from 12 weeks, and primary caregivers and new parents will get 16 weeks of paid parental leave. “We join an industry movement to better support our employees while striving towards increased work force diversity,” said Donna Morris, an Adobe senior vice president. 
by Reuters
August 10, 2015


After Netflix, Adobe Extends Parental Leave Policy

"Caring for yourself and your family at home helps you be your best at work. But in the U.S., government mandates for paid leave are currently slim to nonexistent," Donna Morris, senior vice president of people and places at Adobe, wrote in a blog post Monday. "That means companies must navigate the tough balance between supporting employees during major life events and meeting business goals. Too often, employees have not had the support they need."

The U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only countries among 185 nations and territories that don't have government-mandated laws requiring employers to pay mothers while on leave with their babies, according to a study released last year by the United Nations' International Labor Organization.
by The Associated Press
August 10, 2015


The Best Paternity Leave Policies

Here’s our working list of the United States employers who offer at least 10 weeks of paid parental leave to new fathers. If we missed your employer, please let us know, and we will follow up.

Company         Weeks of Paid Paternity Leave
Netflix          Unlimited in the first year (not all employees are eligible) 18 weeks
Facebook           4 months
Adobe         16 weeks
Goldman Sachs 16 weeks (for adoption or surrogacy only)
Morgan Stanley 16 weeks
Bank of America 12 weeks
Dow Jones  12 weeks
Google          12 weeks
Microsoft          12 weeks
Twitter          10 weeks

At some companies, employees must declare themselves to be the primary caregiver for the child.
August 12, 2015

Leaps in Leave, if Only Parents Would Take It

These companies are in the vanguard of a movement, some experts believe. “We’re in the midst of revolutionary changes in the workplace,” said Stew Friedman, director of the Wharton Work/Life Integration Project at the University of Pennsylvania. “It will be a 15- to 20-year project, but the competitive pressures in the labor market are pushing toward greater freedom and flexibility.”

by Claire Cain Miller
and David Streitfeld
September 1, 2015

Family-Leave Policies Can Enforce Old Gender Roles

 Social science research has shown that parents who use formal benefits and are seen as performing a primary parenting role, regardless of gender, are penalized with lower pay and fewer promotions. Other research has shown that when fathers play a hands-on role early in a baby’s life, they are more involved for years to come, and mothers earn more.

Some researchers say one way to decrease these penalties is to make family-oriented policies gender-neutral and apply them to all parents.
by Claire Cain Miller
September 3, 2015


The Myth of Quality Time

That’s reflected in a development that Claire Cain Miller and David Streitfeld wrote about in The Times last week. They noted that “a workplace culture that urges new mothers and fathers to hurry back to their cubicles is beginning to shift,” and they cited “more family-friendly policies” at Microsoft and Netflix, which have extended the leave that parents can take.

How many parents will step off the fast track and avail themselves of this remains to be seen. But those who do will be deciding that the quantity of time with their brood matters as much as the intensity of it.
by Frank Bruni
September 6, 2015


Attitudes Shift on Paid Leave:  Dads Sue, Too

Now, as men shoulder more responsibilities at home, they are increasingly taking legal action against employers that they say refuse to accommodate their roles as fathers.

The cases come against the backdrop of a societal shift in which many fathers are working  less and spending more time with their children. A recent Pew Research Center analysis reported that from 1965 to 2011, fathers reduced the number of hours they devoted to paid work to about 37 from 42 each week on average and increased the number of hours they devoted to child care each week to about seven from 2.5.
by Noam Scheiber
September 16, 2015


Let's discuss this a little bit tomorrow.

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