working women

12 Fairygodboss Employer Moments in 2015

As we look back on 2015, we wanted to celebrate the good work that employers have done to help support women in the workplace. These #fairygodboss employers really impressed us!

pabloLyftFast Company

  1. In January, Lyft makes 2 new senior-level female hires which makes its executive team ~50/50 balanced in terms of gender. The company also implements a 3-month paid maternity leave policy.pabloSF
  2. In April, led by CEO, Marc Benioff, Salesforce announces a compensation audit to make sure men and women at the company are paid equally and fairly for their work. This results in a $3 million adjustment to female employees over the year.pablointel
    Mercury News 
  3. In June, Intel launches $125 million fund to invest in businesses led by women and underrepresented minorities.pabloGOOG
  4. By July, Google and other tech companies following its example saw the one year anniversary of an initiative to release employee  diversity data. While the industry revealed modest progress in 2015, many pledged to try harder and we are encouraged by these companies’ continued commitment to transparency.pabloNetflix
    Washington Post 
  5. In August, Netflix announces an unlimited parental leave policy for full-time salaried employees, and later extends paid maternity leave to its hourly employees.pabloAdobe
  6. Adobe doubles its paid maternity leave to 26 weeks and increases paternity and adoptive leave to 16 weeks in August.pabloMSFT
    Business Insider 
  7. In the same month, Microsoft extends parental leave policies so new moms can take a total of 20 weeks of paid time off.WSJ
  8. In September, everyone talks about McKinsey’s study of what ~30,000 employees at 118 companies say about the state of gender equality in the workforce. There findings are sobering, but what isn’t measured is unlikely to change.pabloHilton
    Washington Post 
  9. In the same month, Hilton Worldwide announces industry-leading maternity leave benefits for the hospitality industry. Employees at corporate offices and managed hotels with a minimum of 1 year of service will receive 10 weeks of fully paid leave.pabloGates
    Business Insider 
  10. In October, the Gates Foundation expended its paid parental and maternity leave to one full year of leave for new and adoptive parents.pabloTrudeua
  11. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau names the country’s first 50/50 gender-balanced cabinet because “its 2015″ in November.pabloaccenture
    Huffington Post 
  12. Accenture amplifies the discussion of gender equality in partnership with the Huffington Post with stories from 130,000 of its women to highlight challenges, inspire others, and provide advice  to others.We believe stories and voices matter at Fairygodboss, and we hope to keep hearing from employers and women in 2016!

    Fairygodboss is committed to helping women in the workplace. 

working women

Why Netflix Should Ignore the “Haters” (of their Unlimited Parental Leave Policy)

Photo credit: stobor / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: stobor / Foter / CC BY-SA

Last week, Netflix announced a ground-breaking unlimited, paid maternity and paternity leave policy for most of their employees. We love sharing information about company policies that impact working women so we immediately started sharing the news on social media. We assumed most people would be happy for Netflix employees and the worst emotion coming out of the announcement would be jealousy.

What happened next surprised us: people started criticizing Netflix’s policy. Suddenly we were reading headlines like “Why Netflix’s New Parental-Leave Policy Could Make Things Worse for Women” and “Why Netflix’s ‘unlimited’ Maternity Leave Policy Won’t Work“. Then there were those who were rightly upset that certain Netflix employees would be left out. NPR reported that certain employees in its DVD division and call centers would not be covered in “Netflix Still Facing Questions Over Its New Parental Leave Policy.”

We think Netflix should get another round of applause.

As the saying goes: “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Is Netflix’s policy “perfect”? Almost certainly, no. It only covers some of its employees. It could have been even more generous by explicitly giving 1 year of paid leave instead of leaving it up to employee discretion. They could have required that employees (or managers) take some minimum amount of maternity leave so others wouldn’t feel pressured to copy workaholic examples around them. It could have created a policy that would be easier for other companies to emulate / copy. It could have created world peace and erased all workplace gender biases. (Ok, we’re being sarcastic now).

Our point is this: Netflix is trying to do better by many of the parents at their company. They have a culture that already gave an unlimited vacation policy, which presumably was working for them despite the ambiguity. And they are trying to treat men and women equally in giving equal parental leave and not making assumptions about which gender will take on more child-rearing responsibilities at home.

So could their policy have been better, clearer, more inclusive?  Probably, yes. But should they mostly ignore all the hand-wringing and concern? Absolutely.

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace for women and crowd-sourcing maternity leave information as a free resource for all working women. Join us by signing up at

working women

Employers Must Offer Equal “Parental” Leave

Today, the EEOC (i.e. the federal agency charged with enforcing laws against workforce discrimination) released new guidance regarding pregnancy discrimination.  The last time they did this was 1983.  These new guidelines were presumably released because the number of EEOC charges alleging pregnancy discrimination have increased substantially in the past several years (37% between 1997 and 2013).

Most of the guidance was not very earth-shattering but there was one area that struck me:  the EEOC states that employers who offer “parental leave” (as distinct from “medical leave”) must offer that leave to men and women equally.  In other words, if an employer offers an employee leave (paid or unpaid) for medical recovery, birth and recuperation, that can be offered to the birthing parent (aka a woman) in whatever quantity the employer wishes.  But if additional leave is offered for child-care or bonding, it should be distinctly designated as “parental” leave, and must be offered on the same terms to women and men.  (The full text is here so scroll down to see Examples 17 and 18).

What’s exciting and interesting about this is that I don’t believe most companies’ maternity leave policy specifically designates a time for medical recovery versus childcare/bonding.  If companies start complying with the EEOC guidance and offer equal leave to the non-birth parent, then 1 of 2 things may happen:

1.  The non-birthing parent may receive more leave than the company policy previously provided (i.e. good news for those of us who believe partner/paternity leave is important and has been sidelined).

2.  The birthing parent may receive less leave than the company presently offers (i.e. bad news for those of us who think most companies are not particularly generous with maternity leave in the first place).  This could happen because the employer starts worrying that equal parental leave rights means too many employees will start actually taking it and reduces the total leave available.  Similarly, a company that previously was considering offering maternity leave may decide to offer either zero or reduced leave because they’re worried about the costs of offering leave on the same term to mothers and fathers.

I hope that most companies don’t reduce maternity leave (its a hard message for HR to deliver, after all) and excited that this new guidance recognizes the importance of treating both male and female parents equally!  I’ll keep watching this space…