Only days after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced he would be taking two months of paternity leave, Facebook has made a policy change that gives four months of paid parental leave to new parents, reports Alyssa Newcomb for ABC News.
“This expanded benefit primarily affects new fathers and people in same-sex relationships outside the U.S. It will not alter the existing maternity leave currently available to all employees worldwide,” Lori Matloff Goler, Facebook’s vice president of human resources, wrote in a post.
“Every day things are getting a little more real for us, and we’re excited to start this next stage in our lives.”
Silicon Valley is finding that it must cater to families more than in the past. Its youth-centered culture has been proven by employers preferring younger employees with no children who, in their opinion, are more productive, but that notion is increasingly challenged by a changing workplace and tech sector.
When Mark Zuckerberg was 23, he said young people led simpler lives and simplicity allows people to focus on what is important. But more tech executives are becoming vocal about the fact that balancing work and family is difficult, especially as Silicon Valley is under increased pressure to diversify, according to Claire Cain Miller reporting for The New York Times.
CB Insights, a private company data firm, conducted an informal poll last month and found that 63% of the 4,040 participants, who were mostly start-up founders with children, said they had a hard time balancing their start-up and their parental duties day-by-day or all the time. Of the participants, only 10% said they never had problems.
Spotify, headquartered in London and Stockholm and with offices globally, announced it would give full-time employees six months of parental leave and one month of transition leave. The transition leave would include flexible or shorter hours at work.
Tech companies still hire a disproportionately low number of women. One-third of employees at many of these businesses and less than one-fifth of all tech employees are females. Overall, women tend to be the employees who want family-friendly policies since, more often than not, parenthood affects the careers of women more than men.
Recruiting more women has caused some tech companies to begin offering more comprehensive parental leave, but formal policy changes like paid leave are slower to catch up. And what happens when workers return from authorized absence is even more important.
If employees talk with their employers about their families’ needs and the need to create productive schedules that balance work and home, workers are afraid they will seem uncommitted to their jobs.
The move made by Zuckerberg for Facebook’s more than 11,000 employees could push other large tech companies to do the same thing and create similar policies, writes BusinessInsider’s Sam Shead.
Goler added that according to Pew Research, about half of fathers are concerned they are not spending enough time with their children. Now, all new dads and same-sex partners at Facebook will get four months to bond with their children whether they are the primary caregiver or not. She said that Facebook wants to become one of the top businesses for families.