Thursday, June 30, 2016

6/30/16- Brave or Stupid?

I was brazen this week.  I wrote a letter (well email) to my company's president and VP of HR.  In the letter (posted below), I suggested that if our company wants to be seen as a leader of equality in the Tech Industry, then we should have an all inclusive parental leave policy, not just a maternity leave policy.  The parental leave policy should include the same paid time off for new moms, new dads, parents who just adopted, and so on.

I sited a great article on why paternity leave is good for families and businesses from the Daily WorthWhy Fathers Should Take Paternity Leave.  I believe an inclusive parental/paternity leave policy will mean equality for women in the workplace and equality for men in the home. To me, being a feminist doesn't just mean equality for women in the workplace, it means women and men are equal in abilities and capabilities, which include being a working professional and caregiver.  You might be annoyed with me that that is how I view feminism, but I'll ask you this: what gender do you immediately picture when I say nurse? Or flight attendant (I totally said stewardess the other day, so ding on me)? Or teacher?  Or stay at home parent?

So yeah, I think about all the dads who want to spend more than just week (or even just a day or two sometimes) with their new born child.  Or I think about the non-traditional parents (adoption, grandparents or other relatives who've become the primary caregiver, etc), and I think shark it, we need not just a country wide (that country being the US) paid maternity leave policy, but an inclusive paid parental leave policy.

I dedicate this post and the letter I sent to Jack's dad, who wishes he had been able to take more time off with our newborn. Maybe it's foolish of me to think one letter can change the world, change our culture, change our view of genders (and associated stereotypes).  I like to think it was brazen. (And that I won't get fired for suggesting an improvement in our workplace/work culture! ;o))

Here's the letter (obviously I had to change names for propriety reasons, but you will be able to eliminate 3 companies that I don't work for, haha):

Hello Mr. X and Ms. Y,

As ACME furthers their goals of people/employee oriented first culture and inclusion and diversity, I encourage the senior leadership of ACME to strongly consider one cohesive and global paid parental leave policy that includes all parents (new fathers and mothers, adoptive parents, etc.).

I searched the internal ACME website and asked my local HR representative, and I found that ACME has no specific Paternity Leave policy.  My HR representative told me that there was an informal policy for fathers: they can take unpaid FMLA or PTO to be with their new child.  I believe for mothers/maternity leave there is a formal policy; the old ACME maternity policy was 6 weeks of paid (disability) and 6 weeks of unpaid FMLA.

I've included a link to an article that sites many studies and cases about how "Paternity Leave Is Good for Families and Business," and I think that by creating a paid parental leave policy, ACME would have the opportunity to be a leader in diversity and inclusion within the Tech Industry.  Companies like Facebook, Intel, and Netflix have already done so; I'd love to see my company, whose products and customers I passionately believe in, be someplace that I can also boast as being inclusive and diverse.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Suzie Olsen
Staff Systems Engineer

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