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Yahoo! Businesses

So What If Yahoo's New Dads Get Less Leave Than Moms? 832

Posted by timothy
from the what-about-occasional-babysitters? dept.
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Yahoo rolled out an expanded maternity/paternity policy that doubled the family leave for moms to 16 weeks. But new dads at Yahoo get only 8 weeks. It turns out that Yahoo is not the only Fortune 500 company to short-shrift news dads. But, really, do new dads think it's worth crying over? Hmmm...changing diapers or cleaning up code — both are messy, but one smells less."
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So What If Yahoo's New Dads Get Less Leave Than Moms?

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  • Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:36PM (#43613055)

    Anything less than equal treatment is discrimination.

    Men are being discriminated against by not getting the same amount of leave to spend with their newborn children.

    This has both physical and psychological effects on all parties involved.

    • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:39PM (#43613103)

      I should add, its ironic that ultraliberal California doesn't consider this illegal, but Ruby Red North Carolina prevents such discrimination.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jittles (1613415)
        Actually in California fathers are granted the 12 weeks required under the FMLA at the federal level. So while it may be legal to give mom's 16 weeks (though I am not sure it is), dads are required by law to get at least 12 weeks.
        • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Informative)

          by toastar (573882) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:55PM (#43613365)
          unpaid
        • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Informative)

          by Enry (630) <enry&wayga,net> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:56PM (#43613387) Journal

          Last I saw, FMLA says unpaid leave. Yahoo(!) is offering paid leave. Dads can still take 12 weeks, but the last 4 have to come out of vacation or unpaid time.

          • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Informative)

            by tiberus (258517) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:21PM (#43613809)

            Don't forget that with FMLA only applies to certain companies (50 or more employees in the area), may not apply to you (upper 10% of earners and your leave would hurt the company), you and your wife work at the same place (then you have to split your 12 weeks). Pretty sure most companies require you to burn your paid time first, so it may be unpaid leave.

            While time to bond would have been great, I don't have any real heart-burn about Yahoo's benefit offering for a few reasons. 1) I do believe that on average, women are likely to need more time off to recoup from giving birth, especially as it seems troubled pregnancies are becoming more common. 2) I'm much more bent over how a female dominated field like education (birth - high school) has zippo paid parental leave benefits. Considering the current overall state of such benefits Yahoo deserves applause, albeit possibly with a raised eyebrow.

            Sheesh folks are getting bent over Yahoo increasing an already generous benefit for women but, not for men. How about we cut them a huss until everyone else in the country has the paltry 8 weeks of leave dads at Yahoo will get, then we can paint signs, hop on a buss, protest outside their offices, sign "Give Peace a Chance" and boycott their services...

            • Re:Equal rights (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:17PM (#43614537)

              Fairness is not about everyone getting the same things. It's about everyone getting what they need. Since people are different, they should get different things.

            • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:25PM (#43614605)
              People are bent because it is wrong. We have decided that we want a society with equal rights between the genders. This is not equal. Men have gotten the shaft when it comes to children for most of the time society has existed. We are finally getting to a place where we don't have to take one for the team when it comes to spending time with our children vs. actually feeding our children. Now is the time to speak up and say that discrimination is wrong.

              Would your defense of Yahoo! be the same if the discrimination was drawn along racial lines instead of gender?
        • Re:Equal rights (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dawn Kawamoto (2858799) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:58PM (#43613429)
          Hi Jittles, In my submission, I left out the word *paid* maternity, *paid* paternity leave. You're dead on regarding FMLA's 12 week requirement, but it does not require it be paid.
      • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Informative)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:16PM (#43613723)
        When you say "ultraliberal" you're thinking of very specific, small places within California. Like Berkley, Hollywood, and San Francisco. And even then, you're only thinking of the most outspoken residents. The OC is very conservative by national standards. The state legislature has plenty of conservatives in it, some of whom subscribe to the "starve the beast" theory, whereby you solve the budgetary problems by refusing to raise taxes without actually cutting spending.

        (Also, side note, some residents of the OC evidently hate it when you call it the OC, so call the OC "the OC" whenever you get the chance.)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:48PM (#43613243)

      Childfree people are being discriminated against because they get no leave. I should be able to take leave to take care of my cat.

      • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:56PM (#43613389)

        Except in 30 years that kid could likely be taking care of you in a home or driving a bus or even being a Dr taking care of you. Your cat won't.

        Nearly every single other country in the world realizes that long term they're better off if kids are taken care of from the beginning: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      Anything less than equal treatment is discrimination.

      Men are being discriminated against by not getting the same amount of leave to spend with their newborn children.

      This has both physical and psychological effects on all parties involved.

      Then don't think of it as man vs woman. Think of it this way: if a human being comes out of you, you get an extra 8 weeks off. You can be a man OR a woman; as long as a human being comes out of you, then you get the time. See how that works?

      • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s0nicfreak (615390) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:55PM (#43613369) Homepage Journal
        Then they are discriminating against people that can not give birth. That includes men, some women, and some people in between.
      • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:00PM (#43613465)

        Except that the law isn't supposed to work like that. The US constitution does not permit women to get special rights that are not available to men. Which is why things like title IX don't specify a sex, they specify that both sexes are required to get equal opportunity to resources covered under the title. And that can mean extra resources for men, even though it usually works out benefiting women.

        What's more the bulk of the maternity leave has nothing to do with pregnancy, and everything to do with bonding with the newborn. It's questionable as to why we're granting women all that time off and then bitching about how men don't spend as much time with their children. Well, no shit, we don't give them the same sort of break in terms of availability to bond with their own children.

        • Re:Equal rights (Score:4, Informative)

          by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:16PM (#43613731) Homepage Journal

          Except that the law isn't supposed to work like that. The US constitution does not permit women to get special rights that are not available to men. Which is why things like title IX don't specify a sex, they specify that both sexes are required to get equal opportunity to resources covered under the title. And that can mean extra resources for men, even though it usually works out benefiting women.

          What's more the bulk of the maternity leave has nothing to do with pregnancy, and everything to do with bonding with the newborn. It's questionable as to why we're granting women all that time off and then bitching about how men don't spend as much time with their children. Well, no shit, we don't give them the same sort of break in terms of availability to bond with their own children.

          As many others pointed out, FMLA covers both equally and supersedes this law (with unpaid leave). You can think of it as them giving a bonus to women that isn't available to men. but based on decades of salary data, men were getting bonuses all along and no one bothered to cite the constitution in protest.

          In a perfect world anyone with a newborn would get paid leave, but most companies give 0 weeks of leave to fathers and 6 to 8 weeks to mothers (often at a discount) so why are we getting on Yahoo's case for going above and beyond 99% of the employers in the US, with the same difference?

          • Re:Equal rights (Score:4, Informative)

            by hedwards (940851) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:45PM (#43614167)

            You can't have it both ways. If women want to complain about being underpaid, then they're going to have to accept the cut to benefits like this that it's going to take. They're also going to have to be willing to make the other sacrifices that men make in order to get those bonuses.

            Also, women should stop complaining about men being less involved in the lives of their children, when men are being provided with fewer opportunities to do so.

            Just because they're going above and beyond 99% of the other employers, doesn't make the practice of granting women additional leave any less sexist. It just means that they aren't as bad as the other companies are.

      • Re:Equal rights (Score:4, Informative)

        by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:15PM (#43613701)

        Yes, except we don't give them more time off because something came out of them. Medically, its a minor event. You're ready to just about anything you could do before hand (physically) in a couple days. About the only thing you can't do immediately is make another baby. C-sections are different as they have to cut you, but those are not the norm.

        If you reduce it to 'recovery from the process of passing a child' then you reduce the time two no more than 1 week, unless the women works in a baby mill, in which case, I think its 6 weeks.

        The time off is given for the 'family' not for medical recovery. The time off is so mom can be with her child, not because she is recovering. She isn't even taking care of the child for the most part during her 'recovery' period, its only after that when she starts doing her job.

        I'm fairly certain you don't have any experience with women giving birth. We did it for hundreds of thousands of years when taking a break for more than a few hours meant something big and mean ate you alive. They even did it without hospitals ... or someone to tell them they were working too hard!

        I want to spend that time with my child too.

    • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:09PM (#43613611)

      Anything less than equal treatment is discrimination.

      If you think that's bad, not only do I get less maternity leave than a woman would, but the men's room DOESN'T HAVE TAMPONS IN IT!!!

      [/s] Lets not make overly broad declarations. It's only discrimination if the situations aren't actually equal. Which it isn't. Physically if nothing else. I went back to work a few hours two days after my kid was born (voulontarily, to keep things going in lab), my wife at that point still couldn't really walk. Postpartum depression also is a thing women have to deal with, while we don't.

      I'd like to hear the reason for the discrepancy before I condemn it as sex discrimination. I know some of you are really anxious to find something about the rare female CEO in a tech company to cry foul about, but this is not necessarily discrimination.

    • Re:Equal rights (Score:5, Interesting)

      by thehickcoder (620326) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:19PM (#43613777) Homepage
      I like the way my company handles this. One partner (primary caregiver) gets 12 weeks. The other (secondary caregiver) gets 2 weeks. It addresses all the discrimination/same-sex issues, while also handling the "someone who just had another person come out of them should get more time off" common sense. If the mother works, the father is automatically considered to be the secondary caregiver unless he can provide documentation from her employer saying she only was able to get 2 weeks off. I know fathers who have been able to take 12 weeks off because their wife's employer only allowed 2 weeks of maternity leave.
    • by DdJ (10790)

      I'm guessing that any men who actually managed to give birth themselves would be able to successfully argue for more leave.

      (The less tongue-in-cheek way to express the same thought is: if the parents are a married lesbian couple, what does their policy say about the amount of time permitted? If a female parent who didn't carry the baby is entitled to more leave than a man under the same circumstances, then yes, there's no argument by which the policy isn't discriminatory. But otherwise, there may be.)

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:36PM (#43613057) Homepage
    Which one is that?
  • Sexist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:38PM (#43613081)

    They shouldn't be so sexist about it. They should offer 16 weeks to any human employee that gestates a fetus, and 8 weeks to the partner of the gestater. That way it's not sexist.

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:40PM (#43613119) Homepage Journal

    At least, that's how Corporate America seems intent on treating male parents.

    Society, too - basically, if you have a penis, you are considered tertiary to the rearing of a child. Look at custody battles - The mother is given the benefit of the doubt almost without exception. Case in point, my ex-sister-in-law has documented psychosis, multiple suicide attempts on her record, and a known history of violent behavior, whereas my brothers record is sterling; yet she was given damn near full custody of my nephew anyway.

    One has to wonder if the unbalanced treatment of fathers in our society has anything to do with the number of them who bail on their spouses/offspring...

    • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:12PM (#43613655)

      You see this reflected in sitcoms too. The dad is the idiot who couldn't be trusted to look after the kid if the mom set everything up beforehand and just needed an adult to keep the child from climbing on the counter and getting to the knives. The mom is the all-knowing, ever-right parent who suffers through the dad's antics and who could keep the children occupied (safely, mind you) if all she had on hand was a crayon stub and a diaper.

      Back in real-life, I've heard of dads harassed because they were taking pictures of their kids in public because a man taking a photo of a kid = pervert but a woman taking a photo of a kid = loving mother. Dads will be patronized about being "babysitters" for their kids (what I'm doing is PARENTING, not BABYSITTING). Stay at home dads are still looked at as being "less than" for not going to the office to work.

      In general, dads are considered minor parenting figures. It's alright if they're around, but the mom is the official parent and knows much more by virtue of being female. The irony is, if dads were given more respect as parents, more would take on more parenting responsibilities, more would stay home with their kids, and staying home with the kids would finally cease to be viewed as "women's work." In other words, increasing dads' rights and respect helps dads and moms.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:41PM (#43613143)

    Do they each get 16 weeks?

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:41PM (#43613147)

    1) To wife: "If all goes well I'm taking a week off after the baby comes."
    2) To work: "I'm taking all eight weeks off."
    3) Enjoy seven weeks of 8-5 freedom.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:42PM (#43613165)

    This inequality just furthers the discrimination between the sexes in our society. By giving men less leave, they are saying that men are less inportant and/or less effective when it comes to childcare. What if the mom doesn't get any leave at all? What if mom wants a break after 8 weeks? Or what if the mom completely abandoned the kid to the father? I see no excuse for this.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:43PM (#43613175)

    I would never, ever, give up the time I've spent with my child for a job. Your children are only ever that age once. To miss that time with them would be far greater loss than anything else.

  • by bradgoodman (964302) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:48PM (#43613239) Homepage
    Hmmm...A head scratchier

    Let's try to figure this one out...

    The new CEO - a woman who just gave birth (or is about to?) - and has publicly cracked-down on people putting time in at home comes up with a Maternity/Paternity policy....

    • She already had her child back in September. This led to a big controversy. She had her baby, worked from home for awhile, and then (in February) decided that no other employee should be allowed to work from home.

  • Canada!~ (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Literaphile (927079) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:49PM (#43613261)
    Happy to live in Canada where both men and women can take 35 weeks of parental leave, covered by employment insurance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by p43751 (170402)

      I see Your Canada and raise You a Norway.
      47 weeks(100% pay) or 57 Weeks(80% pay).
      Dad HAS to use 12 of the weeks or they will be lost.
      Apart from a small part around birth, all weeks can be used by either mum or dad.

  • by macbeth66 (204889) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:52PM (#43613305)

    After the past week of looking at some really stinky code around here, I would cherish diapers.

  • by KernelMuncher (989766) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:53PM (#43613321)
    American federal law prohibits policies that discriminate based on sex. By giving different leave times according to the person's gender, Yahoo is in violation. They could be subject to EEOC fines or even sued in civil court by any aggrieved parties (meaning the dads).
    • by faedle (114018)

      Except the policy doesn't technically discriminate on the basis of sex. A woman that does not bear a child only gets 8 weeks, just like a man. The additional 8 weeks is for recovery from pregnancy.

      Now, it would be interesting if a FtoM (that is, somebody who was born female but happens to be considered "male" by society) happened to get pregnant if they would get 16 weeks. My guess is that they would, precisely because of this distinction.

  • by grmoc (57943) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @02:57PM (#43613417)

    Ensuring that men have and *must take* as much leave when a child is born ends up improving equality *for women*, as now employers have no productivity basis for discriminating against women w.r.t. having kids.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:01PM (#43613473)

    Would that be the diapers that smell less? Diapers don't typically stink until the baby starts eating solid food. This happens at around the 4 to 6 month mark. So if dads got 16 weeks of paternity time, they would head back to work just when the diapers began to smell.

    Yes, I'm a dad (two wonderful boys) and yes I changed my fair share of diapers when they were younger. (However, I'm glad that we're out of the diaper phase for good now!) Unfortunately, I didn't even get 8 weeks of paternity leave. I took a week off when my first son was born (out of my own vacation days) and then took a couple of days off when my second was born. I would have loved to have spent 8 weeks pampering my wife and helping her with our newborn.

  • I'm not sexist... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:09PM (#43613605)
    ...and I'm a guy, but even I'll say it: don't you think that the mothers have just a little more to deal with? I mean, they just pushed a 3-5kg or so sack of flesh out of an an orifice in their body, they're spending any number of hours day and night feeding the thing, they're bodies are readjusting from various hormonal changes...

    Maybe, just maybe, giving moms more makes a bit of sense.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:22PM (#43613825)

    Not only is the policy blatantly sexist (coming from a female CEO makes this even worse) but it actively discourages Dad's from participating in their kids lives. This perpetuates the myth that only women can be active parents and has no business in the 21st century. There is absolutely no reason that a father can't provide just as good of care and be just as involved with raising their child as the mother.

    Sexist attitudes like this are why men get taken to the cleaners in family courts all over the world. This same woman probably bitches about men not helping with diaper changes and parenting duties. If you have a kid, never ever let someone do this to you, get involved and refuse to let sexist twats keep you from being part of your kids life. Take the opportunity and raise your kid right, teach them the things you wished you learned and have fun with the.

    Fathers are supposed to be more involved in their kids lives than providing a paycheck. Take responsibility, stand up to sexism, raise your kids as they deserve better. If doing the right thing doesn't inspire you just remember that if you don't you'll be taken to the cleaners if you ever go to Family Court.

    /Rant off

  • by LihTox (754597) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @10:51PM (#43617289)

    When we give women more time off than men to take care of an infant (and that's what parental leave is mostly for), we are strengthening the notion that the mother is the better person to take care of a baby. And what about women who don't *want* to take so much time off from work? My wife is a researcher running her own lab, and needed to get back to work as soon as she could after our son was born. Fortunately, I was working part-time and I could be a stay-at-home dad (with some babysitting assistance). But suppose I had a similar job to hers, and the University said "OK, she can have 12 weeks off but you can only have 6", isn't that putting added pressure on her to take the leave, regardless of the relative importance of our positions? Isn't it telling her "We can spare you a lot more easily than we can spare your husband, because he's a man"?

    So I see no reason for women to cheer this disparity.

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