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More Parental Leave at Yahoo Is Great for New Parents, But What About Exisiting Ones?

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Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the focal point for so many of our stresses as working parents this year, has upped her company's paid parental leave offerings. That's great news for new moms- and dads-to-be at her company.

Indeed, during an interview on "Good Morning America," More editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour predicted that parents would be running to apply for jobs now at the ailing tech company because of this change.


I ask because some of Yahoo's tech peers already offer more paid days to new birth moms and dads as well as adoptive parents. For example, Google, Mayer's former employer, offers 18 to 22 weeks of maternity and seven weeks of paid paternity or adoption leave. Meanwhile, Facebook already offers 16 weeks of paid leave to mothers and fathers, as long as they are full-time employees.

By comparison, Yahoo will now be offering new birth moms 16 weeks, while dads and adoptive parents receive eight. According to Reuters, "Yahoo previously did not provide paid leave to fathers and the total amount of paid maternity leave varied from state to state, but was generally six weeks."

For all the new moms- and dads-to-be at Yahoo, I send my best wishes and congrats. Know that millions of working parents in this country still don't have access to paid family leave (and you can sign our paid-parental-leave-petition to change that right here).

Also know that across Working Mother 100 Best Companies, the average amount of paid leave is three weeks for new birth dads, five weeks for adoptive parents and seven weeks for new birth moms.

My empathy, however, goes out to the parents -- really everyone -- currently working at Yahoo, which in February banned working from home.

Make no mistake, paid family leave is something every parent should have access to, but parenting is a marathon, not only a sleep-deprived sprint. For millions of working parents, flexibility is a key factor in the work-life juggle. At the 2012 Working Mother 100 Best Companies, 77 percent of employees use flex and 50 percent telecommute. These practices allow parents to occasionally schedule their work around vaccination appointments, preschool plays, third-grade field trips, middle school band concerts and college tours.

Increased paid family leave is a great thing; however, it does not erase the impact caused by the loss of flexibility -- both to Yahoo employees and Yahoo itself. (Here's an easy roundup of why flex is so important to bottom line.)

I salute Yahoo's one step in the right direction, but encourage Mayer to keep going. She's still got a long way to go before Yahoo catches up with the Working Mother 100 Best Companies.