Site That Shares Company Maternity-Leave Info Is a Working Mom's 'Fairy Godboss'

Working momIt's about time! A new site promises to let working moms gather the information we really need when we're job hunting, and it sounds like it could be a game-changer.

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It's called Fairy Godboss, a place for "company reviews for women ... because everyone could use a guardian angel for their career." Someone should have thought of this a long time ago!

One of the site's cofounders, Georgene Huang, tells the New York Post that she realized the need for a service like this after undertaking her own job hunt while two months pregnant. She became increasingly frustrated that she couldn't gather the vital information she really wanted about the companies she was considering.

"I work really hard, but I needed to leave at six and not feel judged for it," Huang tells the Post. "That’s not something that’s going to be publicized by a company." She also wanted to know about maternity-leave policies -- something that many women are afraid to bring up in job interviews, for obvious reasons.

Georgene collaborated with another working mom, Romy Newman, who has a similar background and interest, and Fairy Godboss was born.

From maternity-leave policies to the general corporate culture (is it a "boys' club" kind of place? Will bosses be understanding when your kid gets sick?), these are things that women want -- and deserve! -- to know about a company when considering a career move. But unless you already happen to have a good friend who works at a particular company, it can be nearly impossible to find out any of this stuff. As the Post points out, only five Fortune 100 companies outline maternity-leave benefits on their websites.

WHY? Seriously -- why?

The concept of Fairy Godboss is a lot like Yelp in that "users" leave reviews, but the founders say they want to keep the site a truly helpful place, so the content is curated. Under "Company Values" on the website, they list their golden rule: "Be constructive; not destructive!" 

In other words, they're looking for legitimately helpful information -- not mean-spirited rants from disgruntled employees.

"...We will remove postings that comprise only criticism of others, and that contain insults, or derogatory, offensive language," they say on the site. "Please remember the most effective way to disagree is to write your own compelling review."

What a brilliant idea! It's absolutely crazy that this kind of information is so hard to come by. And it's even crazier that women can be afraid to even ask the kinds of questions they need to ask of HR people, for fear of giving off an unprofessional impression.

You can tell me to "lean in" all you want -- I know for a fact that fear is often well-founded. I once had a job offer rescinded after the company's HR felt I had asked too many questions about their vacation and sick-day policies. I had a 1-year-old at home -- did caring about my baby and my work-life balance really make me a less desirable employee?

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Obviously, it did -- and I'm sure I was better off in the long run, if that was the case. But I hope that with a site like Fairy Godboss, CEOs and company owners will start to realize that this kind of thing is really, REALLY important to us. And it's to their own benefit not only to improve their cultures (and family-leave policies!), but to also be transparent about it. Because, as a hardworking mom who loves my career, I can say this is 100 percent true: If a company believes in taking care of its employees, by fostering a culture where women aren't penalized for being moms, then we are going to be loyal and hardworking employees in turn. That's a promise.

 

Image via © Artiga Photo/Corbis

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