7 Companies That Do Family Leave Right

September 12th 2015

Emma Bracy

Within the past few years, some of the most popular tech companies have adjusted their paid leave policies for new parents to accommodate not just moms, but dads and non-biological parents as well. Perhaps these businesses are taking a cue from Sweden—the country with the most generous family leave policy in the world.

Swedish parents are entitled to 480 days—that’s 16 months—of paid parental leave. And yes, parental leave means it’s not just for moms. Sixty of those 480 days are reserved exclusively for fathers, and next year, 90 days will be reserved just for dads—the same amount already reserved for mothers. (Parents split the rest of their allotted time as they see fit.)

It should come as no surprise that 85 percent of Swedish dads take family leave; and the ones who don’t, typically face questioning from family and friends. Dads taking time off is not only good for developing the bond between child and father, but it is also good for gender equality. With many countries (America included) still navigating issues of women’s rights and maternity leave, Sweden kind of seems like a futuristic, family-friendly utopia.

On the other hand, according to a 2014 International Labour Organization report, only two out of 185 countries surveyed lack paid maternity leave under the law: Papua New Guinea, and America. We stand alone as the world’s only developed country that doesn’t guarantee some sort of paid leave associated with parenting.

The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, introduced in the Senate this past March, seeks to change that. The bill would create a national paid family and medical leave system, enabling workers to receive partial pay (66 percent of wages, to a cap) for up to 12 weeks of leave. This could make a real difference for working families, allowing parents to care for new children, sick family members, or even themselves.

Why is paid leave good?

Well, economists say it’s essential for making it possible for women to work. And although the number of women in America’s workforce is declining—a phenomena economists are wrestling with—many believe that paid leave could help increase those numbers. It can also make it possible for parents to do simple, expected things, such as take their newborns for health visits. Not to mention that paid leave is just family-friendly. Encouraging parents to spend time with their children is certainly not a bad thing. (Just ask dads in Sweden.)
Although our government does not require it, some employers are taking it upon themselves to encourage more family time for their employees; 12 percent of private industry workers are lucky enough to get some sort of paid family leave. Of course, not all family leave policies are created equal. For example, Google gives mothers 18 weeks of paid time off, but biotech company Genentech gives just six. Netflix was recently applauded for its generous new unlimited (within the first year of a child’s life) time off plan, but that only applies to employees of the company’s streaming service, other company employees, including those in customer service, aren’t included. Still, other companies extend family-friendly perks beyond paid leave. So if Sweden’s not an option but parenting might be, you might want to know which companies are amongst the most family-friendly. We’ve compiled a list:

1. Adobe

Starting Nov. 1, primary caregivers get 16 weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, in addition to 10 weeks of paid medical leave following childbirth. In total, a new mother could take 26 weeks off. Non-primary caregivers will receive four weeks with full pay. The new policy is available to Adobe’s 6,000 U.S. workers and will be extended to mothers and fathers who become parents “through childbirth, surrogacy, adoption or foster care.” Adobe will also cover up to four weeks of family leave to care for a sick family member.

2. Microsoft

Also starting Nov. 1, parents are provided 12 weeks paid leave that can be taken as one continuous break, or split into two periods. Mothers who give birth get eight additional paid weeks off, and have the expanded opportunity to go on short-term disability during the two weeks prior to their scheduled due date. In addition, new parents also have the option of phasing back into work on a half-time basis.

3. Facebook

All parents get 17 weeks paid leave from the social network, which can be used all at once or spread out over a year. The company provides $4,000 in “baby cash” to each new child born or adopted; and subsidizes day care, programs for adoption, egg freezing or surrogate parenting and sperm donation programs. Also, the Menlo Park location now has designated breastfeeding rooms.

4. Twitter

Twitter offers 20 weeks of paid maternity leave for mothers who give birth, and 10 weeks paid leave for dads or adoptive parents. The company holds roundtables for those who are leaving for or returning from parental leave. There’s also “mommy mentor” program, and working mom lunches.

5. Goldman Sachs 

New moms at this financial firm get 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, while dads, primary caregivers, and non-primary caregivers can enjoy four weeks of paid leave. In addition, 16 weeks of paid adoption/surrogacy leave are provided. The firm has dedicated resources for expecting or new parents, including weekly expectant parent walkthrough calls, on-site lactation rooms, 24-hour access to lactation consultants, and a maternity mentoring program. In addition, The New York and New Jersey offices provide back-up on site childcare.

6. Google

Of course Google is on the list. Birth mothers are given 18 weeks of paid leave, and 22 if they experience complications. Other parents, including adoptive or surrogate caregivers, receive 12 weeks of paid leave for bonding time. Non-primary caregivers are offered seven weeks paid leave. Other parent perks include consultations for parents searching for childcare, discounts for nanny-placement agencies, and “mother’s rooms” equipped with hospital-grade sterilization tools in all Google buildings. New parents also get $500 towards baby supplies.

7., a petition website dedicated to empowering people to create social and political change, provides 18 weeks of fully-paid parental leave to every employee who becomes a new parent—biological or not.

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