Yahoo Does Something Smart, Doubles Paid Maternity Leave

In a move that many aficionados of American capitalism are already lauding as really, really smart, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the boss who loves her employees so much she wants to see them in the office all the time, has expanded the amount of paid maternity and paternity leave Yahoo employees receive.

Now, moms at Yahoo can take 16 weeks of paid leave (with benefits!) while dads can take up to eight weeks. Meanwhile, mothers and fathers who have children via adoption, foster child placement, or surrogacy will still get eight weeks of paid leave.

According to NBC, Mayer (who famously skipped right over her own maternity leave) has essentially doubled the amount of time mothers at Yahoo get for paid leave. Under Yahoo’s old policy, mothers received up to eight weeks of paid leave and absolutely zero new-parent schwag — Yahoo will also give new parents $500 to spend on things like house cleaning, groceries, babysitters, and Yahoo-branded crap that can burrow into an infant’s subconscious so that children of the future will be conditioned to turn to Yahoo rather than Google for all their querying needs.

Mayer’s expansion of Yahoo’s paid parental leave program comes on the cloven-footed heels of her much-criticized decision to end Yahoo’s lenient telecommuting policy and insist that employees either start showing up at the office, find another job, or manufacture a really efficient replicant to come in to work for them. A lot of people weren’t happy about that, since the dismantling of the work-from-home option made being a Yahoo employee a lot harder for a lot of working parents.

Expanding paid maternity and paternity leave, however, is definitely going to win Mayer back some extra points. According to blogger Rachel Sklar, Yahoo’s new policy suggests that the company is in for the long-con — like Google and Facebook, Yahoo is trying to provide as much for its employees as possible, thus limiting their distractions so they can toil more efficiently for the corporate entity they serve. Employees who have perks like good food, exercise equipment, daycare centers, and whatever else people worry about wrangling for themselves are more likely concentrate on work. By becoming more parent-friendly, said Sklar, Yahoo is ingratiating itself to its current employees and turning itself into a destination for high-end talent:

The temptation will be to see this through a gender lens - - that of course she did it because she's a new-mom CEO. And this certainly would suggest she has a heightened awareness as a working mom, but this will encourage new parents to be engaged with the company and have a financial peace of mind. When companies nickel-and-dime their employees, it just adds to their burden.

Such a parental leave policy will definitely make Yahoo stand out to prospective employees, since finding really good paid maternity leave in America is like hunting for a unicorn-riding vampire.

Yahoo Expands Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave [NBC Bay Area]

Image via AP, Peter Kramer