10 tech companies pioneering paid parental leave in the US

6 Apr 2016

Getting the right staff is difficult, hanging on to them is a whole other ball game. But tech companies in the US now view paid parental leave as a must to keep their employees happy.

In Ireland, and indeed throughout the EU, there are regulations in place allowing employees to take 18 weeks for parental leave. Admittedly unpaid, and perhaps surprising, this represents a significant chunk of time in a new parent’s life.

Within this spectre, each EU country then has its own separate, decided-upon amount of paid maternity leave and, usually less so, paternity leave. From a paternal leave point of view Ireland (from this September) will offer 14 days paternity leave, with the likes of Belgium (10), France (11) and Portugal (20) all lagging behind social heavyweights Finland (54), Sweden (60) and Norway (70).

In the US, though, it’s far different. Like China, workers in the US are currently entitled to zero days state-supported paid parental leave – rendering paternity leave non-existent. However, the tech industry over there is powering ahead with changes to this.

Here are 10 companies doing just that – and many of these policies are not restricted to just the US.


Yesterday, Twitter announced that, starting in May, its employees will be entitled to 20 weeks paid parental leave. Currently, mothers receive that option, but fathers get just 10 weeks. The shift towards an equal footing (which will be rolled out globally “no later than 1 July”) is, thus, significant.


Last year, Netflix announced it was offering “unlimited” paid time off to employees during their first year as new parents. Normal salary is maintained, although the offer is only for salaried staff, which is a little over three-quarters of its employee base. It’s hourly-paid staff get between 12-16 weeks.


Facebook (and Instagram) offer 17 weeks of paid parental leave, worldwide. “We want to be there for our people at all stages of life, and, in particular, we strive to be a leading place to work for families,” said Lori Goler, when announcing the news in November.


Since last November, Adobe has offered 16 weeks of paid parental leave for its employees. With 10 weeks paid maternity leave too, that can add up to 26 weeks for mothers if they work it right.


Also since November, Microsoft offers 12 weeks paid parental leave. Prior to then if gave four weeks paid, eight weeks unpaid. There is also eight weeks paid maternity leave on top of this.


In the US, Apple give six weeks parental leave to fathers and non-birth partners, with 14 weeks paid maternity leave (and four weeks family leave prior to giving birth), as well.


Google’s maternity offering is 18 weeks, fully paid. Fathers can get 12 weeks ‘baby bonding time’, with non-primary caregivers eligible for seven.


Before we go on, it’s important to mention Spotify is a Scandinavian company, perhaps explaining its generosity. Last November, the company announced six months paid leave for all full-time employees globally. They even enacted it retroactively right back to January 2013.


It all happened last November. Parental options in Amazon were overhauled late last year with 20 weeks parental leave brought in. That was broken down with 14 weeks maternity (four ahead of the birth), as well as six weeks paternity, which could be transferred across.


Employees may take up to four months of paid leave (17 weeks) during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child. It can be broken up, but it can only be done so in two-week segments at a minimum.

Main image of a young family via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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