Etsy's New Parental Leave Policy Is Basically Perfect

Ian Pajer-Rogers |

From The Huffington Post:

by Emily Peck

Etsy just increased the amount of parental leave it offers. Starting April 1, all workers at the Brooklyn-based company known for selling hipster-precious, hand-crafted goods will be able to take 26 weeks off after the arrival of a child via birth or adoption. 

That’s a big increase from the company's old policy, and follows examples set by a bunch of other tech companies that are racing to improve benefits as the war for talent continues.

But what truly makes Etsy’s announcement notable? It's gender neutral. Men and women at the 800-person company will be eligible for six months leave and -- this is key -- Etsy will no longer give more time off to "primary" caregivers, a falsely neutral designation that companies effectively only apply to heterosexual women.

Previously, Etsy gave "primary" caregivers 12 paid weeks off, and "secondary" parents five paid weeks.

"It was playing out in a gendered way," Juliet Gorman, Etsy’s director of culture and engagement, told The Huffington Post.

"Male employees read the policy and thought, 'I must only be eligible for secondary,'" she said, adding that there's no established definition of what constitutes a primary or secondary parent. 

The company is following on the heels of Netflix, Spotify and Facebook, which now offer men and women equal paid time off. The United States has no paid leave policy, but does guarantee 12 weeks of unpaid leave regardless of gender to some new parents.

Gorman pointed out that most millennials are raising their kids in dual-income households where the expectation is that both parents share responsibilities. Designating one of those parents the primary caregiver seemed like a "dated concept," she said.

Read more from The Huffington Post.