Etsy Announces New Parental Leave Policy

While the United States still falls woefully short on parental leave (paid or otherwise), some states and private companies are leading the way toward a more promising future for new parents.

The latest, Etsy, announced on Tuesday a new policy that allows all employees to take 26 weeks (or a little over six months) of paid parental leave. It will extend to both mothers and fathers, including adoptive families and those who become parents via surrogate. The policy will go into effect on April 1 for over 800 of Etsy’s employees worldwide.

“[We] want to build a culture where all parents — regardless of gender — are equally encouraged and supported to take time to care for their new and growing families,” Etsy explained in a press release. The company further expanded on its reasons for creating extended and paid gender-blind parental leave in a blog post on Medium.

Juliet Gorman, Etsy’s director of culture and engagement, also acknowledged that many Etsy sellers, many of whom are independently employed, currently receive no such benefits. Gorman stressed that she hopes that Etsy’s parental leave can be part of a larger conversation with lawmakers and other companies to ensure a greater section of the population receives such benefits.

While there is no concrete record of what parental leave looks like for all women in the U.S., at least one 2012 study from the Department of Health and Human Services found as many as one in four women return to work as soon as two weeks after giving birth.

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