- Pinterest will update a number of parental leave policies Jan 1, putting it among the forefront of companies offering parents time off to balance caregiving with work. The company will allow 12 weeks of paid leave for parents with babies in the NICU, which can be taken separately from parental leave; increase its parental time off from 16 weeks to 26 weeks for the birthing parent and 20 weeks for the nonbirthing parent; provide 20 weeks of leave for adoptive parents, plus $10,000 in monetary assistance; provide four weeks of leave for parents who experience a miscarriage; and expand its IVF and egg freezing assistance from U.S.-based employees to all employees globally.
- The benefits will coexist with those Pinterest already offers, including surrogacy assistance up to $20,000; personalized parenting support through Cleo, including one-on-one coaching; free breast milk shipments for traveling employees; and support for parents whose children have special needs.
- "It's important to us that we support parents through this really heart-wrenching and difficult experience," Alice Vichaita, head of benefits at Pinterest, told HR Dive about the new NICU benefit. "And we're proud to be one of the leading companies in this industry to do so."
As employers seek to retain employees and meet unique needs that have gained new exposure due to the pandemic, caregiving and parental benefits are on the rise. Employers have invested in fertility benefits like IVF and egg freezing, disability caregiving benefits for special needs dependents and benefits that support elder caregiving.
Paid parental leave — not to mention other such specialized benefits — remains a rarity in the U.S., however, largely offered to employees with strong compensation and benefit packages. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 23% of civilian employees in the U.S. received paid parental leave in March 2021. Workers in the service sector and production, transportation and material moving industries are especially likely to be left out.
The U.S. is unique among developed countries in that the federal government does not provide for paid maternity or parental leave. On average, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, countries offer an average of 18.4 weeks of paid maternity leave and 31.9 weeks of paid parental and home care leave. Some employees in the U.S. who do not have paid parental leave through their companies may take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act, and a handful of states have developed their own paid leave policies.
In addition to providing their own leave policies, many companies — including Pinterest — have weighed in to support organizations like Paid Leave in the United States (PL+US). In March, Pinterest signed an open letter to Congress with more than 300 other companies, urging lawmakers to pass paid parental leave.
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Build Back Better Act, which includes four weeks of universal paid family and medical leave; however, that specific proposal remains contentious and is vulnerable to being removed from the bill in the Senate.