Happily, the trend of tech companies giving parents better paid leave options continues with eBay announcing it will more than double the number of weeks a new mother can take off after having a baby. They follow in the footsteps of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Netflix with hopefully, more smaller companies following suit in the coming years. It’s so important that new parents have the chance to recover from childbirth and bond with their new baby before returning to work and large companies changing their policies to reflect that truth is a wonderful thing.
According to The Huffington Post, eBay is now offering new moms a total of 24 weeks of leave at full pay. Before the new policy, maternity leave was only 10 weeks at 80% pay, which is still excellent compared to what most other companies offer their employees. In addition to the added benefits for mothers, the e-commerce giant is also extending 12 weeks’ paid leave for parents and workers who need time off to care for a sick family member. Previously, there was no paid paternity leave or family medical leave.
The best part of the new policy is that eBay’s press release indicates the company is just catching up with the times and doing right by parents and workers who need time to care for a sick relative. “Changes in the workforce and demographics in the U.S. have made it increasingly important to provide workers with the flexibility and support they need to care for children or aging parents.”
eBay didn’t do this to be trendy or keep up with other companies in their industry. They simply recognized what employees have long known — that being paid for several weeks after an event as huge as giving birth (or your partner giving birth) should be a given, not a perk. It’s just the right thing to do.
It’s fantastic that eBay and other companies of its kind are taking this huge and public step in improving leave for parents and workers with a sick relative as it might cause other companies to follow their lead. And while it’s great that this is happening for eBay employees, most of them are probably already well-compensated and this paid leave won’t mean as much as it would for a person in a lower-level job with a smaller company.
As eBay indicates in it’s press release, this is necessary because this is real life. Workers need to be supported through huge life changes such as having a baby or a gravely ill relative in need of care. It shouldn’t affect someone’s income, or even worse, their ability to tend to the needs of their loved ones. It’s monumental for a company to recognize how important that is. If only our government would do the same so everyone could experience that kind of security and support.
Once every parent can have this option, not just ones working for an elite company, America will be caught up with the times. Until then, parents will be forced to make difficult decisions including leaving the workforce altogether or putting their baby in childcare long before they (or their baby) are ready. This shouldn’t be reality in a country like ours and hopefully, it won’t be for much longer.