eBay Latest Company to Improve Parental Leave

Major tech company eBay cites "reality" and a need to compete as the reasons for its changed parental leave policies. Shouldn't all companies do the same?

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The tech firm eBay has just become the latest in a series of Silicon Valley companies that are rolling out improved parental leave policies—and the e-retailer is doing it for the simplest, most sensible reason ever.

According to The Huffington Post, the online auctioneer will implement improved policies starting on January 1, when moms, dads and employees who need time off to care for ill relatives will receive 12 weeks paid leave. This is a major change from the company's current policies, which don't include paternity leave or time off for those who need to care for relatives. Birth mothers will also get a whopping 24 weeks of fully paid leave—a major jump from the previous policy, which offered birth mothers just 10 weeks of leave at 80 percent pay (still a lot better than most companies). The firm will make changes to its disability benefits as well.

According to a press release from eBay, the tech giant isn't doing this to "be nice" to employees or even to keep up with other internet companies who are beefing up parental leave benefits. The company cites "reality" as the driving force behind these changing policies.

It's fitting that parental leave policies are adapting—the nature of parenthood has definitely morphed into something new of late. eBay's press release mentioned that women aren't abandoning careers to raise children as often as the used to—and that fathers are taking up a more hands-on role in their children's lives. All this adds up to one simple thing: Companies need to make it easier for employees to balance parenthood and career.

eBay seems to agree. "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," the company said in its press release.

Sounds about right to us.