Etsy's Gender-Neutral Parental Leave Policy Seems To Be Working


parents spending time with baby


June 23, 2024 at 10:39AM UTC
In March 2015, Etsy implemented a new parental leave policy that offers 26 weeks of paid leave to both mothers and fathers after birthing or adopting a child. Etsy’s program, which is much more generous than that of most U.S. companies (many of which don’t guarantee parents any paid time off), was enacted to “support and enable parents, regardless of their gender, to play equal roles in building successful companies and nurturing their families,” according to Juliet Gorman, Etsy’s director of Culture & Engagement.  

The company’s new policy has now been in effect nine months. During that time, according to Fortune, “about 48 of the Etsy's employees have taken leave—half of whom are men, and the other half women. Of those 48, 35% have been promoted since April, Etsy reports, meaning that they were either promoted before, during, or after taking leave. Forty-one percent of those were promoted also advanced to a director level or above.”
While Etsy’s report doesn’t indicate the gender of those who have been promoted since taking advantage of the new leave policy, we hope that some of those employees have been women -- especially in light of recent data about the “motherhood penalty,” which indicates that women sacrifice 4% income for each child they have (for high-earning moms, the penalty climbs to 10% per child).
Moreover, we’re glad to hear that Etsy’s policy seems to be working, as it should set an example for other companies that are formulating their own policies. Because there’s no standard parental leave policy among employers in the U.S., it’s up to companies to decide on their individual plan -- and for now, the vast majority of new parents face a decrease in income when they have a child.
Fairygodboss tracks maternity leave information among thousands of companies and has been maintaining a list of the employers that have recently enhanced their parental benefits programs. We’re hopeful that Etsy’s recent report of a successful, generous program will inspire other companies to provide similar support for their employees.


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