Daily Dispatches
A sign outside the Yahoo! headquarters.
Associated Press/Photo by Paul Sakuma, File
A sign outside the Yahoo! headquarters.

Yahoo adopts new family-friendly policies

Parenting

Whoa, baby! Working moms at Yahoo will now receive up to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, and working dads? Take up to eight weeks, the company announced today.

As if that doesn’t give the nation’s non-Yahoo employees the baby blues, the Sunnyvale, Calif., internet company also will offer a $500 cash bonus to every new parent, according to a company spokeswoman. The company also will offer premier parking spaces for its pregnant personnel.

And the plush perks aren’t just limited to biological births. Adopting? Fostering? Using a surrogate? All parenting options qualify employees for the benefits.

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Until now, Yahoo did not provide paid paternity leave, and its maternity leave varied from state to state—but then the company’s controversial CEO, Marissa Mayer, had a baby.

"Marissa Mayer probably found that intentionally or not her policies had created terrible morale," Lesley Jane Seymour, editor in chief of More Magazine, told ABC News. “She has learned from it. And wow, she's like the parent who says, 'No you can't have ice cream, but I'm buying you a pony.'”.

Still, Yahoo’s parental pluses have stiff competition in Silicon Valley, which aims to attract and retain the best and brightest tech workers. Google, for one, offers up to 22 weeks of paid leave for its new mommies, while Facebook, in Menlo Park, Calif., offers 16 weeks of paid leave to moms and dads, plus $4,000 in “baby cash,” according to Reuters.

"This current new list of programs and benefits is a step in the right direction because we know that women tend to leave their jobs if there is not flexibility or other benefits to support them,” Netsy Firestein, executive director of the Berkeley-based Labor Project for Working Families, told Contra Costa Times. “The fact that Marissa is looking at other options suggests that she has done some research and is really looking to move Yahoo forward, in contrast to that other position that took Yahoo backward a bit."

Just two months ago, Mayer ignited a firestorm in the tech world when she ordered employees to stop working from home.

"Huge amounts of data show that it's really good for kids and for their brain development to have time to bond with their parents," Firestein said. "In terms of the tech industry, 16 weeks [of maternity leave] for mothers and eight weeks for fathers seems to be the standard and that's great. And it's a great model for other employers to follow. But we lag grossly behind the rest of the world. Other countries offer six months to three years and Canada has almost a year. When there is paid parental leave, people come back to work in much higher numbers."

Whitney Williams
Whitney Williams

Whitney happily serves WORLD as web editorial assistant. When she's not working from her home office in Texas, she's probably fishing or hunting with her husband.

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