Twitter and Its City, San Francisco, Make Big Strides in Parental Leave Policies

The social media company is the latest to offer equal leave to moms and dads, while San Francisco approved six weeks of paid leave for all parents.
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It's a big week for gender-neutral parental leave policies.

Yesterday, San Francisco became the first city in the US to approve six weeks of fully paid time off for all new parents—moms, dads, same-sex couples—who have or adopt a child.

Now Twitter—which is based in San Francisco—has announced that beginning May 1, it will up its perk game, guaranteeing any parent up to 20 weeks of fully paid time off.

#EmployerGoals!

"The goal of this change was to expand how we think about parental leave," Jeffrey Siminoff, Twitter's newly-appointed VP of inclusion and diversity, told Fortune. "Primary caregiving is something that's hard to define. We want to lead by example, and by doing so we can influence the decisions of others."

Which would be great, considering that only two states besides California—New Jersey and Rhode Island—currently mandate paid parental time off, and none at full pay. (Workers in Cali get 55 percent of their pay for six weeks.)

Maternity leave guidelines differ from state to state, so it's important to know what applies to you.

San Francisco's proximity to Silicon Valley—where tech companies like Facebook and Netflix have recently increased family leave benefits, offering four months and one year of paid leave, respectively—may have something to do with the way the city is embracing change.

Our country's parental leave policies are woefully behind the rest of the world," said supervisor Scott Wiener in a statement. "Today San Francisco has taken the lead in pushing for better family leave policies for our workers."

Of course, in order for a policy to be effective, people have to actually use it. Which means both men and women will need some reassurance that taking the time off will not only be socially acceptable, but that it won't negatively affect their jobs.

"Managers understand why this time is so valuable," said Laura Brady, Twitter's director of compensation and benefits.

Let's hope so.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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