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The Almighty Buck

Twitter To Give All New Parents 20 Weeks of Paid Leave ( 265

Michal Lev-Ram, reporting for Fortune: May 1 will be a happy day for Twitter employees -- at least those expecting a baby. The social media site is the latest tech player to offer so-called "gender-neutral" parental leave, guaranteeing any parent up to 20 weeks of fully paid time off. Other companies that have embraced such policies include Etsy, Facebook, and The rationale? Family structures have changed, and allowing for more evenly distributed parenting equals happier employees, both male and female (within, of course, both heterosexual and same-sex couples).
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Twitter To Give All New Parents 20 Weeks of Paid Leave

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  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:16PM (#51854531)

    Here I was all excited!

    But reading the article, the headline is not correct: "Twitter To Give All New Parents 20 Weeks of Paid Leave"

    Apparently, this only applies to Twitter employees, and not actually "All New Parents".

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Here I was all excited!

      But reading the article, the headline is not correct: "Twitter To Give All New Parents 20 Weeks of Paid Leave"

      Apparently, this only applies to Twitter employees, and not actually "All New Parents".

      Well, only Twitter employees are fit to be new parents anyway. Or Facebook employees.
      All you people working outside Silicon Valley should just be adopting orphans that can go straight to latchkey kid status.

    • Apparently, this only applies to Twitter employees, and not actually "All New Parents".

      I worked at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple personality disoders), the French VP announced to everyone that they were getting stock options at staff meeting. Everyone was happy — except the HR manager, who did a face palm. He then read off the paper that the stock options were restricted to managers, looked up and got confused by all the angry faces. We all got 160 stock options that vested over five years. For the next two years, we watched the share price go from

    • companies love to announce stuff like this and soak in the good press. They forget to mention that the vast majority of work they get done is by contractors (often H1-Bs, but I digress) who get none of these benefits. Companies today fall into two categories: the ones that use contractors to do day to day work without paying them benefits and the ones who have so few employees they don't bother ( it's called "scalability" and it means investors can put a little money in and not have to pay for all those pes
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:18PM (#51854539)

    I want 20 my weeks too, or I'll take a 1 year 38.5% raise instead.

    • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:29PM (#51854613) Homepage Journal

      Somebody has to make more humans for the species' survival. If you work at Twitter, you might be doing nice work, but you're not doing anything as socially critical as reproduction. As far as socially-responsible practices go, this is a good one.

      It's a good sign that,in modern times companies must compete for top employees. The only force making Twitter do this is market pressure. This will likely diffuse into society, working down the income ladder, just as Sundays and then two-day weekends and 9-5 hours did, as technology and productivity created the wealth required for societies to afford it (not to mention and end to child labor).

      [Out before the curmudgeons equate child labor to Twitter developers]

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by NotDrWho ( 3543773 )

        It's not my job to help other assholes procreate.

        • You seem to feel that this time off for parents is really unjust.

          The ironic thing of course is that it's not a criminal justie issue, which means it is a social justice issue. And you're arguing vociferously in favour of greater social justice as you see it. Didn't your .sig used to be some pithy comment about people who did such things?

      • But, to be fair, those rights/benefits weren't segregated by the act of having a child. The original post marks a valid concern: why is it that *only* parents should get 20 extra weeks? Maybe what they do is socially important, but going on vacation and spending money is also socially important. The act of raising a child is what's socially important, not just having them.
        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          Maybe what they do is socially important, but going on vacation and spending money is also socially important. The act of raising a child is what's socially important, not just having them.

          Well technically they are not getting this leave to have children. They already are given more than enough PTO time to cover the delivery and disability insurance would cover complications. This leave is for the extra burden of raising a child during its first few months, which is far greater than it is later in life. So this leave is for the act of raising a child.

          And in reality this leave is not a benefit given for the public good. It is a recruiting and retention tool. There are plenty of benefits that d

          • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @04:49PM (#51855937) Homepage

            This leave is for the extra burden of raising a child during its first few months, which is far greater than it is later in life. So this leave is for the act of raising a child.

            And for any childless people who are thinking "well, the first few months of a baby's life are a cakewalk. It eats, it sleeps, you change a few diapers, no problem. It doesn't even move if you put it down", then think again. I've had two kids. I love them dearly and still think having kids is totally worth it (though I don't act like people who don't want kids are crazy - different strokes and all). Still, I warn all new parents about the "hell months."

            While your child-to-be is in utero, it doesn't need to have a schedule. If it needs to feed, the umbilical cord takes care of it. If it needs to expel waste (pee since it doesn't poop until it is born), the woman's body processes out the waste. It can sleep or wake, at any time. After birth, though, the baby needs to rely on the parents for feeding, changing, etc. Since the baby can't say "Hey, I'd really like to eat now", it cries. It cries loud. You think you get annoyed when some baby is crying in the store, think how the mother feels since she's tried feeding it, changing it, rocking it, burping it, and it won't stop crying.

            Oh, and did I mention that the mother has had 3 hours of sleep in the past 5 days?

            The new baby has no schedule. It can cry at any moment for any reason and it's up to you, the new parent, to take care of it. It doesn't matter that it cried at 10pm to be fed, 11:15pm to be changed, 1am to be changed again, and 1:30am just because it was fussy. It'll still cry at 2:03am for no apparent reason. Then, it won't cry for 5 hours and you should sleep but you can't because you are expecting that cry to happen at any moment. And just as you fall asleep, it cries again. It takes about three months of this for the baby to develop a schedule.

            And lest any men think that their wives will just get up to take care of the baby, I was the "night shift" with my boys. My wife was exhausted after taking care of them all day. Besides, if she picked them up at night, they'd smell milk and think "feeding time" not "time to sleep." If I picked them up, they'd think "no milk and this guy's rocking us, time for sleep." Of course, putting them down could wake them up so I'd rest my eyes while standing and rocking them. It's amazing how little sleep you can function on!

            If any non-parent wants to simulate this, connect a loud buzzer to a random timer. Have it go off at all hours of the night (and day) and require that you hit one of five buttons (again, randomly chosen) to shut it off. Have a fifty-fifty chance that the buzzer will go off ten seconds after you hit the right button with a new "right button" randomly picked. This should give you some idea of what new parents go through (though it will still be easier).

            So don't envy these new parents for their 20 week "vacations." Chances are, they are using that time to keep their sanity in check and get some order re-established in their households so they can come back into work and be productive instead of barely functional zombies.

        • by blackomegax ( 807080 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @03:22PM (#51855121) Journal
          If you think spending 20 weeks with a newborn child is "time off" equivalent to other peoples vacations, you are delusional.
    • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:39PM (#51854713)

      I want 20 my weeks too, or I'll take a 1 year 38.5% raise instead.

      Invest 20,000+ hours in creating the next generation, and then you can talk about getting another 160-480 hours off from your job.

      This isn't charity. I am one of the highly skilled workers with two young children who put family related benefits high on my priority list. My first daughter was born at a company with paid paternity leave, and for my second child my current company gave me weeks of PTO up front because my wife was pregnant when I joined. I assure you my boss and his superiors didn't bat an eye at giving me extra time off if it meant being able to get me to join.

      If you care so much about this, negotiate for more PTO time for yourself because of your needs as a single person. If you are worth it they will give it to you.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        Ugh, math fail, that's 20 weeks not 20 days, so 800-2400 hours. Still a tiny portion of what it takes to raise the next generation.

        • Not to mention that the first three months are the "hell months" when the baby has no set schedule and the parents are severely sleep deprived (and would likely not be very productive workers). That's 12 or 13 of the 20 weeks right there.

          • by ranton ( 36917 )

            My second child is only a month old right now, and we are currently mentally preparing ourselves for months 4-6 (or so) when we are both working but the baby isn't on a sleep schedule yet. It certainly isn't easy in week 5 with only one of us working, but its a cake walk compared to what is coming. My best friend had one kid who was on a good sleep schedule by month 3, so I am clinging to that hope right now.

            • My boys (if I remember correctly) got onto good sleep schedules by the third month. Of course, just as you think you've got this parenting thing down, more challenges present themselves. Right now, I'm dealing with hormones causing pre-teen attitude. Trust me, there are days when I long for my oldest to be 5 weeks old again. (Of course, then I remember The Seven Diaper Diaper Change and that feeling passes.)

      • If you care so much about this, negotiate

        The fact that people live in a civilised country where they are required to "negotiate" time off to create the following generation has scary implications.

        • I don't know how civilized it is, but it is supply and demand. If you are in demand you have leverage to negotiate. If you are one of thousands competing for the same 10 jobs *cough*Walmart*cough*, you do not have leverage. Frankly I like the negotiating process because it lets me optimize for my own situation.
      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        We don't need to negotiate anything because we are self-reliant. We don't need to be a burden on others. We plan for our own future including the possibility of things going poorly. We both know enough about corporate America to expect trouble sooner or later.

        We don't feel the need to make others pay for our personal choices or even an unexpected calamity.

    • Use that time to make yourself stand out in other ways so that when it comes time to promote someone, you've got a lot more to say for yourself.
      • Use that time to make yourself stand out in other ways so that when it comes time to promote someone, you've got a lot more to say for yourself.

        That would be discriminating against parents who did not have the same opportunity since they were at home.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:39PM (#51854721)

      You get a shitload of extra work to pick up the slack.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        You get a shitload of extra work to pick up the slack.

        It almost makes up for the extra work these parent's are doing to create the next generation to pay your social security benefits and keep society running. Its only off by a factor of 10-20, so you're getting a hell of a deal here.

      • by mattyj ( 18900 )

        We childless people also enjoy:

        - discretionary income
        - smaller house/apartment
        - social life
        - motorcycles and sports cars
        - a good night's sleep

        Don't act like new parents are somehow gaming the system to come out ahead of you, our team has a lot of perks, too.

      • So when the parents come back after 20 weeks they will also have 20 weeks of unread email to sort through, spend 20 weeks fixing everything that's gone wrong on their projects, then get yelled at for being late on their commitments.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )


          The last time I was out of the office for 4 weeks, it was a disaster. It completely cured me of pining for 60 days off at once. I would be useless at that point. I can't imagine Europeans get much done. As it turns out, many of them (Germans) don't.

          This has to be terribly disruptive.

          I will acknowledge that business has to continue despite the fact that I am dying. The world does not revolve around me. It can't just stop because I'm indisposed. I would not fault my employer for trying to pick up t

      • Meanwhile Twitter's stock is in freefall. I don't understand how this is going to make shareholders happy taking on a huge fiscal burden like this.

    • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
      Which you will get. Women who return from a 20 week leave usually don't have much to brag about in a performance review. This is a big reason men make more than women in the workforce.
    • Yeah, I have a couple of thoughts about that, as a new parent myself (baby is 11 weeks old). Granted, for places that offer paid leave, it must seem like a free vacation to some. But paid leave for a new child isn't exactly a vacation. It is mostly an exhausting and stressful period of time, as well as one that is of critical importance to the development of the child. Honestly, I'm generally more worn out each day than I was when I was in grad school.

      I do, however, agree that non-parents can get the
      • Congrats on the new baby. (11 weeks is mostly new.) I hope he/she is settling into a routine. Despite sleep deprivation, I still remember those early months and am so glad my boys (now 12 and 8) mostly sleep through the night. My wife quit her job also after our second. The cost of child care would have eaten up all of her income so it made more sense for her to become a stay-at-home mother. I've got to admit that I envied her at times when I'd come home to hear "He did this for the first time today" a

    • You're getting a 20 week vacation from them talking about their new child. Enjoy it while it lasts!

    • so we're subsidize them to keep the economy growing so the 1% can siphon 40% off the top of their labor. If you're not contributing to that system then don't expect a subsidy for it.

      Yeah, that's a crass way to put it, but it really is why we do as much for parents and children as we do in this country. Trying and get the right wing to do something for the poor and middle class without a reward is basically impossible.
  • by StayFrosty ( 1521445 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:18PM (#51854543)

    My experience (not personal, but second-hand) is that new parents--both male and female--seem to get next to no sleep for the first couple of months and don't get a heck of a lot accomplished at work. Staying awake seems to be the biggest challenge. Programs like this will go a long way to improve morale and employee health and might be a net gain (in profit) by the time employee retention and productivity are figured in. I'd like to see a study in a couple of years.

    I'm also betting not everyone is going to take the full 20 weeks. I'm betting these new parents may want to go to work (or, more accurately, get out of the house) one or two days a week for a bit of a mental health break.

  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 31415926535897 ( 702314 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:25PM (#51854595) Journal

    So I just need three women whom I can become a new parent by, some proper spacing, and I can get permanent, paid paternity leave from Twitter. If more and more companies go down this road, I don't see any reason why I can't be simultaneously employed by all of them.

    • I hope this is being modded insightful (I have no mod points!). Just knock out a couple of kids a year, easy to do with 2 or 3 female partners and even easier if you are female, and you can be the modern version of a welfare queen/king. Go full Dugger and you may never work again.
      • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
        Knocking out a couple of kids a year is even easier to do if you're female? I'm sorry, but you don't get to have an opinion on this if you don't even have an 8 year olds understanding of biology.
        • Google "Irish Twins" genius, having 2 kids in one 12 month period is possible and happens. Maybe you should take a turn through elementary biology again, see if it sticks this time.
          • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
            I probably do seem like a genius to you but really I just have greater than a grade 3 education. So let's start by clearing something up. The gestational period for human beings is 9 months. A year has 12. There's generally a one month period before a woman will become fertile so the effective gestational period could be considered 10. Therefore children 10 months apart could be born in the same calendar year but would be 4 months short of qualifying for your "couple kids a year" definition (remember a year
            • Not to mention that a woman's body needs time to recover before it goes through pregnancy again. Having a child isn't like ordering something from Amazon. You don't just get a package one day, open it up, and there's your baby. The woman's body goes through some radical changes followed by something the size of a watermelon getting shoved through an opening the size of an orange. Needless to say, this last part leaves the woman's body in need of time to heal up. If you want to get permanently castrated

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm pretty sure it's impossible for a female human to knock out two or three kids a year.

        Also, it might seem look like an easy life living off your kids welfare, but actually it sucks most places.

    • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
      Except, you still have to care for those kids in the form of child support or, you know, food. You might be thinking you can just give them to the state? Well you could, if you were a very dedicated sociopath. Much longer terms exist in other countries without this problem probably because it's much easier to make money as a sociopath in other ways than to run a government sponsored child birth racket. I'm aware this might be a joke, but I had to say this just in case it isn't. It's a very common approach o
    • You can't do it indefinitely because your childcare costs will increase exponentially while your salary remains constant.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Great plan, except that the rate your family is expanding at is likely to exceed to rate at which your salary increases.

  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:38PM (#51854699)

    Guess who gets to pick up the slack of all the workers who managed to get knocked up or knock someone up?

    If you guessed "All of you responsible employees who don't have kids" you win!

    • by tom229 ( 1640685 )
      *Plays the world's smallest violin*

      Let me be the first to thank you for your selfless sacrifice to humanity. If you're lucky, one day, some woman might find you tolerable enough and we'll get to return the favor.
    • Are youbeing asked to work longer hours than the regular 9-5?

      a. Yes. (a) refuse, (b) negotiate more pay, or more days off (c) quit and get a job somewhere less abusive.

      b. No. Quit whining, you're being paid for the hours you're working for.

  • Cute, (Score:5, Informative)

    by tom229 ( 1640685 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @02:42PM (#51854743)
    But in Canada we get a full year, by law. I was actually horrified to learn that most American mothers only get a few weeks before they have to go back to work. So for any of you hardcore conservatives out there, we get a full year and still have plenty of businesses and jobs. So you can do it too.
    • A full year also means they company has a full year to realize that they can do very well even when you're not showing up for work and set yourself up to be redundant.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      we get a full year and still have plenty of businesses and jobs.

      Don't tell them about the jobs! The unemployed in the US outnumber the whole Canadian population.

    • Our right wing find it morally reprehensible that somebody gets paid to not work. I think it has to do with our obsession with punishment plus a general attitude that if they're not happy with their lives nobody else should be. There are other contributing factors to that belief system, all of them rotten.

      What really kills us is our two party system. It's easy to mobilize enough voters full of hatred and bile to win an election and do whatever you please. Also nobody ever believes our right wing is goin
  • We are looking to get out of there and the factory floor is going to Mexico.

  • This is a company that has yet to show a profit from 200+ million regular users.

    http://financials.morningstar.... []

  • As a new parent I welcome 20 weeks without tweeter:)
  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday April 06, 2016 @03:31PM (#51855235) Homepage

    Welcome, America, to the beginnings of civilisation: []

    Government-mandated statutory maternity (and/or paternity) leave, including pay (not the full amount but enough), for 26 weeks, guaranteed by law, for EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WORKING PERSON, no matter their job.

    What with Facebook and this, you might soon get into something called a civilised state where you actually have a social support network that vaguely resembles humanity.

  • Twitter To Give All New Parents 20 Weeks of Paid Leave

    That's very generous, especially if said parents don't even work for Twitter.

  • First of all, given their pandering to the SJW-cause-du-jour, they seem to be going downhill. Instead of trying to dig a deeper hole by alienating everyone not SOCJUS, how about they purge the SJW's?

    Second, what says they will extend it to the lower-tier individuals known as contractors? That's how you end up giving a lesser set of benefits while being able to make these claims. Besides, when have they been given similarly generous benefits, much less

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.