Twitter is slashing its paid parental leave policy by 90 percent in some cases, according to new reports. The San Francisco-based social media giant will reportedly now provide just 14 days of leave for non-birthing new parents—down significantly from the 20-week policy it had offered to its employees. A Tweet from New York Times reporter Kate Conger cited an internal memo sent to Twitter employees this week that revealed birthing parents will be given 12 weeks of leave, subject to local requirements.
The directive from Twitter CEO Elon Musk comes amid several other changes for the tech firm, including layoffs of roughly 10 percent of its workforce.
We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.
Internal Memo Reveals Changes
Twitter altered its previous policy to "whatever is required by law in the region where the employees work, along with a 'top up' of two weeks of leave," Conger wrote in a Tweet on April 25, citing the company's internal memo. (Conger posted another Tweet on May 7 clarifying that birthing parents would receive 12 weeks of leave, down from 20 weeks.)
The company's policy change will affect Twitter employees in the U.S. Only 12 states in the U.S. offer some form of paid family and medical leave. In California, state law allows employees to take up to eight weeks of paid leave.
(New York Post)
Economic Volatility Spurring Companies to Cut Perks
Twitter's parental leave policy change comes as other firms cut benefits and perks amid layoffs and recession fears. Google is cutting back on employee perks such as fitness classes and even some office equipment in an effort to trim costs, CNBC reported. Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, which in March announced plans to cut an additional 10,000 employees following the 11,000 layoffs it made late last year, ended free laundry and dry-cleaning services for employees. Meta also is tapering back on one of the most coveted perks: remote work. At the beginning of the year, Salesforce ended the "well-being day" it began offering employees during the pandemic, which allowed them an extra paid day off every month.
"It's a lot of the major tech platforms, which are some of the biggest organizations in the world, that are making these sorts of high-profile cuts," said Tony Guadagni, senior principal in the Gartner HR practice at Gartner.
Despite benefits cuts occurring at some organizations, experts told SHRM Online they weren't concerned about a huge trend. So far, a lot of the cuts are happening among bigger tech firms with plenty of low-hanging fruit to trim. They often happen in parallel with layoffs and are a way to prevent further job cuts, Guadagni said. He added that many firms won't cut benefits, both because of employee expectations that have surged as a result of the pandemic and because the job market still remains competitive despite the layoffs seen among some companies.
Parental Leave Showing Signs of Growth
Although Twitter is slashing its parental leave policy, other organizations have enhanced their policies as a result of higher employee expectations and a bigger focus on work/life balance and family responsibilities in the wake of the pandemic.
Global media firm Thomson Reuters, which has 26,000 employees, in April announced a 16-week paid parental leave program. The global benefit grants eligible employees who are welcoming a new child into their family through birth or adoption at least 16 weeks of time off, regardless of the employee's gender, sexual orientation or marital status. The amount varies by country.
"Employees told us they wanted to be more involved when welcoming a new child," Mary Alice Vuicic, chief people officer at Thomson Reuters, told SHRM Online. "And both parents play such a critical role in raising a child. Based on the feedback from our people and ensuring that our policy was as inclusive as possible, that led the redesign that ties to our values and our commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Some Momentum for Parental Leave, But Still Not Guaranteed in U.S.
The U.S. is one of only a few wealthy countries in the world that does not guarantee paid parental leave at the national level. But some state and city changes are occurring, pointing to growing momentum. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in February that New York will offer 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave benefits to more than 10,000 state employees.
President Joe Biden has also urged the enactment of paid family and medical leave. Earlier this year, Biden called for extended support for time-off benefits during a press conference marking the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act. There, he announced he had signed a memorandum laying out a national program of paid family and medical leave for employees.
In general, paid parental leave is a highly desired benefit coveted by workers. A December survey from insurance firm Unum found that paid family leave was among the top three noninsurance benefits U.S. workers most want. Another survey from online insurance broker Breeze last November found that workers would rather their employer offer paid parental leave than an array of other benefits, including employer-paid fitness or mental health benefits, vision insurance, or student loan repayment assistance.