Categorized | Featured, Work/Life

Should You Match Yahoo’s Awesome Maternity Benefits?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer can’t seem to do anything right in the eyes of bloggers and the media.  After she clamped down on the company’s work from home policy  (she axed it), Mayer announced 16 weeks paid leave for Moms and 8 weeks for Dads plus $500.    At INC. Suzanne Lucas offers up some pretty compelling reasons why you can’t offer something so lavish to your employees, but outlines what you can offer.  It starts out pretty simple — you’re probably not as big as Yahoo:

Yahoo has around 14,000 employees. This means that, by definition, they have lot of people to cover for people out on leave. When you have 50 people in the accounting department, having one or even two out on leave can still be manageable. When you have one person who does the accounting, payroll, and manages the office, you’ll have a much more difficult time covering if she’s out.

But Lucas also points out that the law is actually pretty clear on this.  Yahoo’s policy may seem lavish, but the law is pretty specific on this point:

Even the fabulous Yahoo policy, as stated in all the news reports, violates federal law, as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to offer 12 weeks of leave (unpaid or paid) to mothers and fathers.

The key point of difference is the paid or unpaid part of the statement.

For the most part, people understand that having a child involves some sacrifice, juggling, and compromise.  A workplace can help a lot by offering flexibility and long-term vision.  The arrival of a child is but one of the many ways that  force the live/work conversation.  But it’s healthy to have those conversations with employees and work with them to ensure the job gets done as well as the job of life.

Yahoo seems to have traded universal flexibility for targeted, lavish benefits.  This might be the right move for them.  Afterall, a company targeting very young recruits, may find this particular benefit a usefull highlight in the list of benefits.

But what about the broader conversation they’re having with employees?  Is there flexibility to juggle schedules for teen activities, sickness, elderly parents?  Targeted policies have a way of creating fairness for only so some.

Read the entire INC. article here:  Link

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Cindy Thomas

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