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Published: Feb 07, 2022 5 min read
Young couple holding their new born baby in a hospital room
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A firestorm of conversations around paid family leave are taking over LinkedIn feeds. In the name of transparency, major employers are sharing their paid leave policies openly across the professional networking website — and the conversations are spilling over onto Twitter and other social media.

A recent LinkedIn post from theSkimm, a media company known for its daily newsletter, called on employers to be more upfront about their leave policies — especially for parents who are adjusting to life with new babies, adoptions or foster children. TheSkimm added pressure to do so by telling LinkedIn users to tag the companies whose policies they wanted to see.

“Employers, it’s time to #ShowUsYourLeave,” read the now-viral rallying cry.

TheSkimm kicked off the initiative by posting its own policies, which include 18 weeks of paid parental leave, flexible scheduling for parents, bereavement leave for pregnancy loss and unlimited paid time off.

The campaign triggered a flurry of responses. Adobe, Bank of America, DoorDash, Instacart, Live Nation, Nestle, Ocean Spray, Reddit, Snapchat and others followed suit by posting branded fact sheets on LinkedIn and other platforms that outlined their paid leave benefits.

Some notable leave policies include:

  • Live Nation’s paid parental leave of up to six months for birth or adoption
  • Adobe’s 26 weeks of fully paid parental leave for birth parents and 16 weeks for non-birth parents
  • Reddit’s paid parental leave of up to 26 weeks for birth parents and 16 weeks for non-birth parents
  • Bank of America's 26 weeks of parental leave total — 16 of which are fully paid

Of course, many companies took this opportunity to flex other attractive benefits. Instacart, Live Nation and Patreon underscored their flexible or unlimited paid time off policies. Adobe boasted its four-to-six-week sabbatical perk for workers employed for five years or longer.

While not a result from the #ShowUsYourLeave campaign, Google announced an overhaul to its leave policies in late January. The tech behemoth says birth parents can now take off up to 24 weeks, up from 18. Non-birth parents will be able to take off up to 18 weeks, an increase from 12. Additionally, Google bumped up its baseline paid time off policy to 20 days for all employees.

The call for transparent leave policies comes as the Great Resignation rages on. In December, 4.3 million workers quit their jobs while layoffs hit the lowest level ever recorded by the Labor Department. The result? An extremely tight job market where workers are in high demand.

To attract (and keep) workers, employers are experimenting with enhanced retirement benefits, increased wages, student loan repayment programs and paid leave — which companies are increasingly expanding to include paid time off for mental health and extended bereavement as they grapple with the realities of pandemic life.

Parental leave laws in the U.S.

The parental leave policies of many companies above are in stark contrast to what federal legislation requires.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides only 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, and the leave is only available to Americans who work at employers with at least 50 employees. Under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA), the federal government's 2.8 million workers are able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a new birth, adoption or foster.

Meanwhile, Labor Department data show only 23% of privately employed workers have access to any paid parental leave.

In general, the U.S. lags far behind other nations in providing paid leave. According to the intergovernmental Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. is the only member nation to not offer paid parental leave. By contrast, Estonia, the OECD member with the highest amount of parental leave, guarantees 86 weeks.

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