In late 2019 I was blessed with the news of expecting my first child. While the panic/excitement set in, there was one looming fact I couldn’t escape: “how does maternity leave work?” I have been working since I was 15 years old, so the thought of leaving my job to stay at home had never crossed my mind. I like my work and I like money, so the answer, for me, was easy: I will be returning to work. But what about maternity leave?
Working at Agility Partners, a company verging past the ‘startup’ classification but still young in tenure, means that our employee policies are constantly evolving. Parental leave/short-term disability wasn't something they had established when I started working here in 2018. Commonly, most companies do not offer paid parental leave. A study in San Francisco found that not one single seed-stage startup offered paid parental leave. On top of that, there are companies (even state-funded/government-regulated roles) that do not have a formal parental leave plan and employees must use their PTO for leave after bearing a child.
All statistics aside, when I approached my leadership team with the news of the baby, I was completely blown away by their attentiveness in implementing a formal short-term disability feature to our benefits package. They created a specific maternity plan for me that will not only allow me to bond with my little one but will maintain my full compensation package. I am so thankful to my team at Agility Partners for supporting this new phase of my life and allowing me to comfortably step away on leave after my baby is born. Having support like this will make it much easier for me to return to the office.
This is how employees should feel and be treated in 2020: unconditionally supported!