Changing Parental Leave Policies

Recently Twitter announced their new parental leave policy. Starting on May 1st, all Twitter employees based in the United States will be eligible for 20 weeks of PAID parental leave! This means guaranteed maternity leave and paternity leave for ALL employees. However, the chances are slim that if you’re working in Iowa you’re also working for Twitter. So what do these changes mean for you? 

Well hopefully it means that brighter days are in your future. You see, Twitter is only the latest in a long line of prominent companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Netflix who have also introduced new leave polices for parents in the last year.

With the recent announcements, a lot of people are wondering, “Why are these companies changing their policies?” The biggest reason companies cite is they understand the importance of having both parents available at home to care for and raise a new child. By allowing for both partners to take maximum time off there is time for the family to bond as a whole and for both parents to put time, effort, and work in to raising this new human. The time parents are able to spend with their children greatly impacts the development of the parent/child relationship, the health of the child, and the bond of the family and the parenting partners.

At this point in time, parental leave policies are largely at the discretion of the employer, often something you work out in your contract. Currently the governmental policies that are in place in the United States are the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). FMLA requires that employers give employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work in order to take care of a family medical event, such as the birth of a child. PDA states that if an employer provides disability insurance to other employees they must also provide disability insurance to a pregnant woman. However, both of these acts are decades old and do not apply to every company or business in the United States. If a company has less than a certain number of employees, they don’t have to provide the benefits of FMLA and PDA.

The lack of progressive parental leave policies in the United States can be associated with many common problems that families have during their postpartum transition.

-Postpartum depression
-Issues with a partner
-Difficulty bonding with baby

These are just a few examples of problems that could be solved if new parents felt more supported in their decision to take an extended period of time away from work to bond with their new baby and get acclimated to their new 'normal'.

If you are looking for more support during your postpartum transition consider hiring a postpartum doula. All of our doulas will provide your family with unbiased, judgment-free support as your family adjusts during your baby’s first year of life. For more information about postpartum services check out our website or contact Iowa’s premier full service doula agency for more information.

Authored by: Victoria Cartland
Edited by: Kaity Klotzbach

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