4 inspiring companies transforming parental leave for good

Recently, tech companies have been leading the way on parental leave, announcing expanded options for new parents.

WE LOVE TO READ THIS NEWS. Investing in young talent is, simply put, good business. And it’s good for mom, dad and baby, too.

Here are four of those companies doing leave differently:


In August 2015, Netflix announced that it would start offering unlimited parental leave for the first year after a child is born or adopted. The new policy dovetails with the company’s unlimited vacation policy. Netflix, however, has been under some fire after an initial round of praise, because not all employees have access to the benefit. Some critics also question whether the company’s culture will allow employees to even take the company up on its offer of unlimited parental leave.


Right on the heels of Netflix’s announcement, Microsoft extended their parental leave offering. The new policy allows parents to take 12 weeks of paid leave. New moms who give birth to a child are also eligible for 8 weeks of paid disability leave, giving them a total of 20 weeks of paid time off after the baby is born.


The music streaming company offers all full-time employees six months of paid parental leave. The leave can be taken all at once or split up into as many as three chunks. Parents can even space out their leave over the course of the child’s first three years.


Facebook has long offered four month parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child for some employees; however, starting on January 1, 2016, all full-time employees, including dads and same-sex parents, will have access to the four month leave benefit. The social network is also continuing to lead by example as CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that he plans to take two months of leave after his daughter is born -- a very different choice than the one made by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, taking only two weeks off after the birth of her son.

While major companies changing their policies to be more family-friendly is important, it can also be problematic.

In a 2015 interview, Joan Williams, director of the University of California Hastings Center for WorkLife Law, explained to NPR: “If you handle parental leave at the enterprise level, the incentives for the enterprise are to give a rich benefits package to highly valued, high human-capital workers and not give it to hourly workers. . . .That’s just a structural reality, if you don’t have what every civilized, industrialized country in the world has, which is parental leave financed at the national level. The reality of relying on the market to deliver what should be a basic benefit of citizenship is that hourly workers end up on the short end of the stick.”

Looking for more information about paid leave? The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has useful resources, and NPR lays out the political dynamics currently surrounding paid leave. Josh Levs, who stood up for fair parental leave and won, has practical tips on how to ask your employer paid leave for yourself — and for dad.

Interested in taking action? Join 1,000 Days in telling Congress that it’s time for paid parental leave. The For Karl campaign also has tools for contacting your members of Congress and the 2016 presidential candidates.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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