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Tech companies begin to offer more family leave

Upon the birth of a baby daughter or son, working fathers and mothers want and deserve time to bond with their newborn infant. The early months after birth are a critical time to establish emotional connections between parents and babies, and parents shouldn’t have to sacrifice that time in order to protect their jobs. However, many parents aren’t getting the family leave they need.

Eligible parents do get the leave that is available to them under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Unfortunately, 40 percent of workers are treated as ineligible for it because they don’t meet the requirements spelled out in the FMLA.

Even those who can take it are faced with the problem that it is unpaid. Many workers can’t take 12 weeks of unpaid leave, because they can’t afford to go that long without a paycheck. The unpaid status of FMLA leave also disproportionately discourages fathers from taking leave in cases where they are the primary earner in the family.

Some tech companies are now offering more paid leave than they have in the past. Some, however, do so in a way that disadvantages fathers by giving them less paid leave than they give to mothers. For example, Google offers 22 weeks of paid leave to mothers while only offering 7 weeks paid leave to fathers. Yahoo has a similar dynamic, offering mothers 16 paid weeks and fathers only eight.

Fortunately, other tech companies are taking a more progressive approach and offering both fathers and mothers equal time to bond with their newborn babies. Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit offer both parents 17 paid weeks each. Change.org offers both parents of both genders 22 paid weeks.

Parents who are having trouble getting the family leave time they need can review all their options with the help of a California employment rights attorney.

Source: Think Progress, “Tech Company Will Offer 18 Weeks Of Paid Family Leave To Both Parents” Bryce Covert, Oct. 22, 2014

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