A growing number of companies think so.
Starting July 1, Ernst & Young will do away with maternity leave as we know it...but that's not a bad thing.
The international accounting firm recently announced that it's set to roll out a new policy that offers men and women the same parental leave policy. Employees will be entitled to 16 weeks off.
The great thing about this policy? It covers parents who welcome children via a variety of methods, including adoption, surrogacy, foster care or legal guardianship. The company had a relatively generous maternity leave to begin with—but the policy wasn't the most inclusive or equal. It gave birth mothers 12 weeks of time off, which is twice the amount fathers and adoptive parents received. According to the company, about 1,200 employees take parental leave annually, about half of them being men.
The new policy is certainly not the first of its kind. Recently we've seen major companies like Netflix, Spotify and Facebook roll out new-and-improved parental leave protocols. Additionally, the state of New York recently passed a rule mandating gender-neutral parental leave policies.
The trend is certainly shifting, but parental leave policies still tend to give birth moms more time off, something that could ultimately hurt women in the workforce. As The Huffington Post points out: This could make employers see men as more desirable hires, as they don't need to be given as much personal time. It may also put even more pressure on women to act as sole caregivers at home.
“The idea of giving women more parental leave than men is based on a sex stereotype that women should be home and men at work,” Peter Romer-Friedman, the deputy director of litigation at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, told The Huffington Post.
But just because parental leave is available doesn't mean everyone feels comfortable taking it. A recent study by accounting firm Deloitte found that 54 percent of respondents (both male and female) think that taking parental leave "would be perceived as a lack of commitment to the job," and 41 percent "feel that they would lose opportunities on projects."
There's definitely a lot to talk about when it comes to parental leave. What's your take? Comment to let us know!