Suriname, Papa New Guinea and the United States have one very strange thing in common — they all don’t require some form of paid time off for new mothers.
Perhaps it's our capitalistic nature, but the U.S. has always been a large step behind when it comes to parental leave for new, working parents. Most companies provide a few months off for new mothers and perhaps a week or so off for new fathers, but with a tech culture that promotes flexible work schedules you’d expect there to be more progress made with extended leave policies for new parents.
Sure, in comparison to the national average, tech companies appear to be at the forefront. But, the issue only recently received a lot of national attention thanks to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg taking two months off to be with his daughter.
“Our decision to extend our family leave policy really stems from our belief as a company that a parent's' most important job is not the job they do here at Zest, but the job they do at home raising their kids,” said Sonya Merrill, Chief People Officer at ZestFinance. “Most members of our leadership team are parents and we've experienced what it's like to have to go back to work after the birth of a newborn. We want Zest employees to have the time they need with their new babies and we also want their transition back into the workplace to be as smooth as possible.”
Although no children have been born between the time ZestFinance made the announcement and when we spoke with Merrill, the company’s employees are reportedly thrilled with the news.
“I actually had several non-parents tell me how glad they are that Zest extended its family leave — so it wasn't just the parents who are excited about it. Zestians are proud to work for a company that's being progressive in this area and in other employee benefits as well. It's too early on to provide an exhaustive list of lessons-learned, but certainly we believe and have seen that when you are good to your employees they do great work.”
In addition to the announcement, ZestFinance also revealed a partnership with Maybrooks, a career resource for mothers, to create opportunities for mothers looking to rejoin the workforce.
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