Although big companies such as Microsoft and Netflix recently announced that their employers would now benefit from more paid family leave, there is an underlying work culture that discourages new parents from taking advantage of it.
So, companies offering family-friendly benefits may be just an outcome of an increasingly competitive labor market, especially for highly skilled professionals, rather than a shift in corporate America’s workplace culture.
Many employers must submit to the policies of their companies that require a 24/7 work flow. So, those of them who take parental leave they are eventually seen as less committed to their company than they were before the leave. And the mentality stems from the top.
A couple of days ago, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that she was carrying twins, but she insisted in reassuring shareholders that she wouldn’t take too much time off of work when the babies are born. She said that she would “take limited time away” after delivery and work during pregnancy. The same strategy she employed three years ago when she had her first child.
Ironically, Yahoo extended parental leave a couple of years ago. Joan Williams of the University of California commented on Mayer’s decision and said that it was the result of the American work culture that demands committed employees to be at their workplace all the time.
But some major companies try to change the culture. For instance, Microsoft increased paid leave for new moms to 20 weeks and now grants them the chance of getting back to work half-time.
Accenture recently announced that new parents would not have to travel a year after their child was born. Adobe system also extended parental leave, while Netflix was the bravest – it now offers full paid leave for a whole year after the child’s birth.
But experts believe that this is just the beginning. And a major shift in the workplace culture would be possible in 15 to 20 years’ time. On the other hand, corporate America is forced to change because the job market is demanding greater flexibility.
And the move may help non-working Americans to get a job since more than half said that they cannot work because of family responsibilities.
According to official data, only 12 percent of employees can take paid leave if they wanted to. But white-collar workers are not that eager to stay home too much of fear that they may be tagged as being less committed to their company, while blue-collar workers do not have access to such benefit because companies rarely grant it.
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