BUSINESS

eBay More Than Doubles Its Paid Leave For Moms, Citing Basic Reality

Another tech giant realizes that it's 2015.

If you're working for a tech company that hasn't improved its maternity and paternity leave benefits this year, perhaps it's time to call up human resources and lodge a complaint.

On Friday, eBay became the latest tech employer to offer more robust benefits in the name of work-life balance. Starting on Jan. 1, the giant e-retailer will provide 12 weeks' paid leave for moms, dads and workers who need time off to care for sick relatives. Previously, the company had offered no paternity leave and no paid time off to people who needed to care for family members.

Birth mothers at the company can now take up to 24 weeks off, fully paid. Previously, mothers could only take a maximum of 10 weeks' leave at 80 percent of pay, a company spokesperson told The Huffington Post.

In a press release, eBay didn't say it was doing this to be nice to workers, or even to compete with the growing list of other tech companies that have strengthened their own leave policies, although a spokesperson told HuffPost the company is deeply committed to its workers.

Rather, eBay basically just cited reality. We don't live in a world where women quit their jobs after they have babies, or where fathers don't do parenting and housework. Half the U.S. workforce is made up of women, and couples share child care responsibilities, as this 2014 White House report points out. Juggling work and family is stressful. Companies that want to have productive, engaged workers have no choice but to adapt.

"Changes in the workforce and demographics in the U.S. have made it increasingly important to provide workers with the flexibility and support they need to care for children or aging parents," eBay said in a press release.

Accurate.

eBay also made improvements to its disability benefits, now providing for 12 weeks off at 100 percent pay. Previously, it was paying 80 percent.

Some of the other tech heavyweights that have made more leave available to their employees this year include Amazon, IBM, Netflix, Microsoft, Facebook, Adobe and Spotify. Nontech companies are getting into it, too, including Credit Suisse, KKR, Nestle and the Gates Foundation.

Unfortunately, these companies have one thing in common: They employ workers who make decent livings already. If we want a true parental leave revolution, the U.S. will need to join the rest of the world and implement a national paid leave policy. Currently, the country only provides 12 weeks' unpaid leave to some workers.

All the Democratic candidates for president support paid leave policies. Just one Republican candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), supports paid leave. But his proposal would simply offer tax credits to companies that provide leave, and it likely wouldn't do much to bring maternity and paternity leave to everyone.

This story has been updated with further details of eBay's current and former benefits policies.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said Deutsche Bank had improved its maternity leave policy. In fact, it is Credit Suisse that improved its policy.

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