10 of the Best Companies with Paid Maternity Leave

Happy pregnancy
Sofia Andreevna under Creative Commons

Netflix’s recent parental leave announcement sparked in-depth conversations about paid family leave in the United States.

While this issue has been hot for a number of years, companies are taking paid family leave into their own hands as opposed to relying on (non-existent) government regulations.

First things first: What’s the standard? As a woman who plans to have children in the near future, I’m embarrassed I didn’t know this.

In a nutshell, the U.S. requires companies to offer 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, but there are famous limitations to this policy. It only benefits new mothers at companies with 50 or more employees, those who have been at their jobs for more than a year. Certain states supplement these federal regulations with their own benefits, like the ability to tack on paid leave using disability insurance.

Compare that to other options worldwide. Lithuania guarantees that women receive 70 days of leave prior to labor and another 56 days after childbirth with 100% pay. Canadians receive 55% of their pay for 17 weeks of maternity leave, and either parent can take an additional 35 weeks unpaid. Swedish parents get a whopping 60 weeks at 80% of their pay.

If you’re starting to think about moving to Sweden, here are 10 companies whose leave policies are almost as good.

1. Netflix

The streaming service recently announced unlimited leave for up to one year after the birth or adoption of a baby. The policy applies to either parent and employees will receive full pay for the duration of that time — no special forms required.

2. Microsoft

In another recent announcement, Microsoft plans to offer both parents 12 weeks of fully paid leave starting on November 1, 2015.

Birth mothers get an additional paid eight weeks off, plus the chance to use two weeks of paid short-term disability before their due date.

3. Adobe

Also starting November 1, Adobe will offer up to six months of paid maternity leave for birth mothers.

Primary caregivers, such as new parents through childbirth, surrogacy, adoption or foster care, will receive 16 weeks of paid time off. Birth moms get an additional 10 weeks of paid medical leave.

Adobe’s Senior VP of People & Places wrote on the company’s blog,

“Now we will better support all of [our employees], across a spectrum of age, gender and experience, with a diverse mix of family needs and situations. The investment is unquestionably worth it.”

4. Google

Birth mothers receive 18 weeks of fully paid leave and primary caregivers receive 12 weeks. According to Google’s benefits page, new parents also receive “some extra spending money.”

The even better news is that when you take leave you’ll not only receive full pay, but benefits and continued vesting stock. If you’re really lucky — and loaded — there’s also the dream of enrolling your child in Google’s daycare or preschool programs.

5. Facebook

Another tech company offering awesome leave for both parents!

Facebook employees can take 17 weeks of parental leave, spread out or taken all at once over one year after a birth or adoption. The company also offers employees $4,000 to spend on their children, subsidized day care and egg freezing.

There’s speculation that this generous maternity leave policy is due to the younger-skewing age range of tech employees, helped by the fact that Mark Zuckerberg’s wife is expecting a baby. I wonder if he’ll take the full 17 weeks off?

6. Twitter

While Twitter’s leave mostly benefits birth mothers, who receive up to 20 weeks of leave with full pay, fathers and adoptive parents receive up to 10 weeks off for “bonding time.”

The company also hosts “‘New Moms and Moms-to-Be’ roundtables every quarter where women who are leaving for or returning from parental leave can get together to share questions, concerns, and best practices,” reports The Atlantic.

7. Thumbtack

This growing startup offers 16 weeks of fully paid leave to primary caregivers and six weeks to secondary caregivers.

“Employees should feel like they have the support of their employers to bond with their new child(ren) without the stress of feeling like their jobs are being jeopardized,” the company (full disclosure: my old employer) told me.

“Parental leave is essential to help parents transition back to work. Research also shows that paid leave is beneficial for all parties involved.”

8. DLA Piper

One of the few non-tech companies embracing parental leave, global law firm DLA Piper offers equal time off for both parents at 16 weeks of fully paid leave.

9. Patagonia

The outdoor clothing and gear company consistently tops lists of “best company to work for.”

Not only do all new parents receive eight weeks of paid leave (with an additional eight weeks unpaid), Patagonia also offers an on-site daycare and after-school pickup program.

10. Bank of America

After working for Bank of America for one year, all new parents have the option to take up to 12 weeks of paid maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

On the company’s Glassdoor page, employees have praised the company for this benefit with comments like “awesome” and “this is a huge plus for the company.”

Will You Have Paid Maternity Leave?

“In small companies like ours, it can be challenging to balance resources and the financial impact of temporarily replacing any employee who goes on an extended leave of absence, not just parents,” Stacy Larkin, Director of Total Rewards at Thumbtack, told me.

“It can also be difficult to decide on exactly how much time is exactly right for your organization as employees’ needs will vary.”

Right now, the time off you’ll receive as a new parent is solely at the discretion of your employer and generous packages are usually tied to companies with the money to offer them.

So if you plan on having children and want paid maternity leave, you have two options: Move to Sweden or get a job at one of these companies. Good luck.

Does your company offer a paid parental leave policies?

Marian Schembari is a writer and blogger based in Düsseldorf, Germany by way of San Francisco. She writes about travel and creativity and spends way too much time on the Internet.