Why Tech Companies Care about Maternity and Paternity Leave

April 18, 2016 - 3 minutes read

maternity leave mobile app industry

If you follow tech, chances are you’ve seen at least a handful of think pieces about maternity/paternity leave policies (or the lack thereof) in the US. While it’s true that the US is one of the only western countries with a zero-paid-leave policy, the question remains: why do tech companies care so much? Is the tech industry simply blogging more than other industries, or do mobile app developers have a special agenda when it comes to the question of paid parental leave?

Long story short: most tech companies and mobile app developers don’t care about maternity and paternity leave because of politics or gender issues. They care because it’s a question of efficiency and profit, plain and simple.

Data supports the notion that extending maternity and/or paternity leave has the potential to boost profits and efficiency for NYC mobile app developers in the long run. For example, Google recently released a study showing that increasing their paid maternity leave resulted in them retaining 50% more new mothers as long-term employees. That’s a staggering percentage jump, especially considering how much it saves them on vetting new talent, training new hires, and shuffling teams to make up for the loss of valuable, long-term talent.

Now, some mobile app developers will argue that there’s no point to retaining employees who demand as much as two months paid leave for childbirth. And to be fair, if their business model doesn’t allow for that sort of expense, there’s nothing to stop them from maintaining the two-week unpaid unofficial standard. Companies that hire employees for long-term positions are playing a long game on profits and expenses that younger startups may simply be unable to afford.

There’s also a question of how to handle paid leave for higher-level employees and leadership positions that are tricky to move forward without. For example, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer prompted a wide backlash from the tech community when she chose to take only two weeks working holiday for childbirth. Some Yahoo employees were angered because they felt that Mayer was setting a precedent that would make others look bad for taking more time. (Mayer defended her decision as personal and based on the extenuating circumstances of running a large tech company.)

Regardless of opinion, mobile app development companies are increasingly offering longer paid maternity and paternity leave to their employees. The question is, should we view this trend as an effect of the difficulty of filling skilled tech positions — or a side effect of an overall trend towards the law-based leave policies of other western countries? For now, it’s hard to say.

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