In the tech industry it can be difficult to find the right work-life balance. For women who are returning to work after having a baby, the challenges can be even greater.
That’s why many tech companies are now offering more generous maternity leave policies, as well as other benefits and perks to help new mothers transition back to work.
If you’re a woman in tech who is returning to work after maternity leave, check out these five companies that are leading the way
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In the U.S., the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles workers to up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for reasons including the birth or adoption of a child, or the need to care for a sick family member. But for many workers—especially low-wage earners—taking time off isn’t an option. A report from the National Partnership for Women & Families found that 42% of workers in the united states don’t have access to any paid family leave.
The “tech exodus” of mothers
The “tech exodus” of mothers is a term used to describe the growing trend of mothers leaving the technology industry after having children. Proponents of the term say that the industry is failing to support parents, especially mothers, and that this is leading to a brain drain of top talent. While the tech industry has made some progress in recent years in supporting working mothers, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed.
The Challenges of Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
Tech companies are struggling to find ways to support employees returning from maternity leave. The challenges these employees face are many and varied, from childcare to managing their own expectations. While some companies are starting to offer more support, there is still a long way to go.
The “maternal wall”
The “maternal wall” is the phenomenon of mothers being passed over for promotions or plum assignments after returning from maternity leave. It’s a frustrating reality for many women in the workforce, and it’s especially prevalent in the tech industry.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the maternal wall. For one, there’s the simple fact that women are more likely to take maternity leave than men, which can put them at a disadvantage when it comes to opportunities for advancement. Additionally, many employers view parental leave as a sign that an employee is not fully committed to their work, which can lead to them being passed over for opportunities.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps that tech companies can take to woo employees returning from maternity leave. One is to offer flexible working arrangements that allow mothers to better juggle work and family responsibilities. Additionally, companies can provide returning mothers with mentorship and coaching opportunities to help them re-engage with their work. By taking these steps, tech companies can help break down the maternal wall and create a more welcoming environment for mothers in the workforce.
The “double bind”
When it comes to returning to work after maternity leave, tech companies often put employees in a “double bind.” On the one hand, these companies want to support working mothers and retain their talent. On the other hand, they also want their employees to be highly productive and available at all hours. This can create a unique set of challenges for working mothers.
One way that tech companies try to address this issue is by offering flexible work arrangements. These arrangements can help parents manage their child-rearing responsibilities while still meeting the demands of their job. However, flexible work arrangements are not always possible or desirable for all employees. In addition, they may not be enough to offset the challenges of returning to work after an extended period of leave.
Another way that tech companies try to support working mothers is by offering on-site childcare. This benefit can be extremely helpful for parents who need reliable and affordable childcare. However, on-site childcare is not always available or convenient for all employees. In addition, it may not be able to meet the needs of all families.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for returning to work after maternity leave. Tech companies need to tailor their programs and benefits to meet the needs of their specific workforce. By doing so, they can support working mothers and help retain their talent.
What Tech Companies Are Doing to Retain Mothers
The United States is behind the rest of the world when it comes to paid parental leave, but some tech companies are stepping up to fill the gap. Google, for example, offers new mothers up to 22 weeks of paid leave, while Facebook and Microsoft offer up to 20 weeks. These parental leave policies are not only good for families, but they’re also good for business.
Breastfeeding rooms and policies
Many tech companies are offering new mothers private breastfeeding rooms and policies that allow them to pump during the work day. Google, for example, has “mother’s rooms” in dozens of its offices around the world, complete with private lactation spaces and breast pumps. Facebook has a “space for moms” at its headquarters, which includes a nursing room with comfortable chairs, a place to store breast milk and a fridge. And Apple offers a private space for nursing mothers, as well as on-site childcare.
According to a 2016 report from the National Partnership for Women & Families, as many as 1 in 4 women in the United States return to work within 10 days of giving birth because they cannot afford to take unpaid leave. The report found that 26 percent of new mothers go back to work within two weeks, and 5 percent head back within two days.
This leaves little time for recovery and bonding with a new baby. It also increases the risk of postpartum depression, which can have lifelong consequences for both mother and child.
In an effort to retain mothers, some tech companies are offering on-site daycare. This perk allows mothers to pumping milk, breastfeed or bond with their baby during the day while still being able to work. It also gives them time to recover from childbirth without having to worry about childcare.
Some companies are even going a step further and offering extended leave for new parents. This allows mothers (and fathers) to take up to six months off after the birth or adoption of a child. These programs are still relatively rare, but they are becoming more common as companies compete for top talent.
On-site daycare is not a perfect solution, but it is a step in the right direction. It shows that companies are willing to invest in their employees and their families. And it gives mothers the time they need to heal, bond with their baby and transition back into work life.
Flexible work hours
Flexible work hours are becoming increasingly common in the tech industry as companies look for ways to retain mothers who are returning from maternity leave. many tech companies are now offering flexible work hours and/or the ability to work from home as part of their employee retention strategies. This is often coupled with other benefits such as extended paid maternity leave, on-site child care, and breast-feeding rooms.
Some companies are going even further to attract and retain mothers. For example, Facebook recently announced that it would provide new parents with four months of paid leave, $4,000 in “baby cash” to help with expenses, and up to $20,000 in reimbursement for child care. Google has also expanded its parental leave policy, offering new parents up to 22 weeks of paid leave.
By offering these kinds of benefits, tech companies are hoping to create a more family-friendly environment that will attract and retain talented mothers.
What More Can Be Done?
The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t guarantee paid maternity leave, and tech companies have been criticized for their policies—or lack thereof—when it comes to new parents. The lack of paid leave, flexible work hours, and affordable child care can be huge deterrents for women considering a return to the workforce after having a baby. Although some companies are starting to offer more comprehensive benefits packages, there is still a long way to go.
Education and training
Education and training can help new parents feel confident about returning to work after a long break. A number of companies, including Google, offer classes on topics like time management, productivity hacks, and dealing with difficult conversations. These programs can help ease the transition back to work, and they show employees that their company is invested in their success.
The challenges faced by new moms returning to work after maternity leave are well documented. A 2016 report from the Boston Consulting Group found that 54 percent of mothers leave their jobs within the first year after having a child, and cited a lack of support from co-workers as one of the main reasons why.
This is especially true in the tech industry, where employees are often expected to put in long hours and face constant pressure to perform. A recent survey of more than 1,000 women in tech by the Kapor Center found that 51 percent of respondents had experienced discrimination or mistreatment at work because of their pregnancy or parental status.
Given all this, it’s no wonder that many tech companies are working to make their workplaces more supportive for new parents. Here are a few things they’re doing:
– Offering longer paid parental leave: Google, for example, recently announced that it was extending its paid parental leave policy to include 20 weeks of paid leave for new mothers and 12 weeks for new fathers. Facebook offers up to 22 weeks of paid leave for new moms and 10 days for new dads.
– Creating lactation rooms: Many companies now have dedicated rooms where nursing mothers can pump breast milk in private. Twitter, for example, has lactation rooms in all of its offices worldwide.
– Offering on-site childcare: This is still relatively rare, but some companies are starting to offer on-site childcare centers as a benefit to employees. Google, Facebook, and Apple are all exploring this possibility.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for tech companies wooing employees returning from maternity leave, the strategies above can be tailored to fit the needs of any organization. The key is to show that you value your employees’ time and commitment, and are willing to work with them to ensure a smooth transition back into the workplace.