Technology

Adobe boosts maternity leave for US staff

New mothers will get up to 26 weeks' paid leave from Adobe Image copyright Press Association
Image caption New mothers will get up to 26 weeks' paid leave from Adobe

Adobe has become the latest tech firm to boost parental leave in the US.

New mothers will be eligible for up to 26 weeks of paid leave, from November, with 16 weeks on offer to fathers.

There will also be extra allowances for medical emergencies and family illnesses. Some will extend to the parents of adopted and foster children.

Netflix (a year's paid leave for new mothers and fathers) and Microsoft (20 weeks' paid leave for new mothers) have also recently boosted parental leave.

'Macho cultures'

Management Today editor Matthew Gwyther said these "admirable" changes showed Silicon Valley technology companies were trying to improve their relationships with staff of child-bearing age.

"You get terribly macho cultures in some of the start-ups there," he said.

"They have had trouble with that.

"They are very conscious that they have image problems when it comes to employing women."

Freeze eggs

IBM, meanwhile, has launched a scheme to allow breastfeeding mothers to express milk while travelling for work and ship it home to their babies.

Cooling and packaging materials delivered to hotels in advance would allow the milk to be shipped home overnight, IBM vice-president of benefits Barbara Brickmeier said.

"The intent is to provide a concierge-style service for the travelling mother, starting with a mobile app to make arrangements and order supplies before departure," she added.

Last year, Facebook and Apple offered to freeze the eggs of female staff in an effort to help would-be mothers plan their parenthood with greater flexibility.

'Tasteless'

But, according to Mr Gwyther, this is an example of how parent-friendly policies sometimes backfire.

"It sounds so tasteless and an unacceptable way of intruding into their private lives," he said.

"However well-meaning it might be, they are not very good at selling it."

US federal legislation on maternity leave requires employers with 50 members of staff or more to offer 12 weeks' unpaid leave.

But several states have expanded on this, including California, which offers 55% of a woman's average weekly wage for up to six weeks.

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