Wired op-ed reveals how even cutting-edge internet giants don’t do much to facilitate motherhood in the workplace
Among developed countries, only the U.S. fails to mandate paid maternity leave. And at companies that do provide paid parental leave, even multi-billion tech giants like Facebook, the maximum seems to be four months. Wired magazine’s just-published opinion piece, “Why It’s So Hard to Be a Working Mom. Even at Facebook,” addresses the limits on paid maternity leave, and how women struggle to handle the balance of motherhood and workplace demands when even the most modern of companies don’t support a true mix of being a full-time worker and being a mom.
“When I told Facebook I wanted to work from home part-time, HR was firm: You can’t work from home, you can’t work part-time, and you can’t take extra unpaid leave,” noted data scientist and ex-Facebook employee Eliza Khuner.
“I love my job, but I love my baby even more,” Ms. Khuner notes in the piece, describing her experience with Facebook’s strict limits on maternity leave, which ultimately led to her resignation. Despite several attempts to get the company to adjust its policies to better allow employees to balance work and family, Facebook remained adamant that permitting part-time options to parents would strain teams. Khuner reports hearing from many other women in the wake of her efforts to bring change, more than one of whom told her they were getting their eggs frozen for future childbirth options rather than having to face the work or family decision in the present.
It seems ironic that Facebook, a behemoth of the new tech that strives for constant innovation and shake-up, resists this shift to greater inclusivity and professional support.
As Khuner notes in the piece, “I see the posters [at Facebook] every day that say ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’” I said. “I want to know: Would you give us part-time, work-from-home, and extended leave options right now, not later; would you lead this company and the US in supporting working parents; would you give us the chance to show you how kick-ass and loyal we can be with fewer hours at the desk, if you weren’t afraid?”
Maybe someday, the company responded repeatedly. But not now.