After all the fuss about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's five-second maternity leave and total ban on working from home, she made some shocking news today. Yahoo will double its paid maternity leave from 8 weeks to 16. That's 16 PAID weeks for parental leave. Dads will get eight weeks of paid leave.
Just to put this in perspective, Google employees get 18 to 22 paid weeks, and at Facebook, moms and dads get 4 months. New Yahoo parents also get $500 to go toward related costs. But still, can you imagine getting a perk like that? I think parents would be more likely to take that leave if it were paid.
It's great that we have laws that protect our jobs (well, full-time jobs, in most cases) when we need to take time off after giving birth or adopting. But I've heard so many women say that even though they knew they were entitled to those 12 weeks, they just couldn't afford it. Paid maternity is still all too rare. Even when it is paid, it's often just a fraction of your salary and based on seniority. I've known women who get partially-paid maternity leave come back early because they still couldn't afford the temporary pay cut.
Imagine if everyone got paid parental leave. If you didn't have to choose between bonding with your child and putting food on the table. Would you be more likely to take that time off after a baby? Would you be more likely to take the full leave?
And then, what if everyone actually TOOK that parental leave just because they could? Imagine what a difference it would make. You'd probably take fewer sick days because you'd be fully recovered from your pregnancy. (Hey, some of us NEED to recover. I sure did.) There'd be a little bit less worry about money, which means we'd be less stressed out in general. More moms might give breastfeeding a chance. Our kids might be healthier, too.
We're a long way from that vision, but Mayer's latest move brings us closer to the possibility.
Would you take your full maternity leave if it were paid?
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