Facebook offers all employees four months paid baby leave

As CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to become a father, the world's largest social network shakes up its parental leave policy.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
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Facebook's policy changes will benefit fathers and same-sex couples most of all.

Alexander Crispin/Johnér Images/Corbis

Facebook is giving all full-time employees four months of paid leave to take care of a new baby, regardless of an employee's gender or location.

Starting January 2016, all new dads and same-sex partners working at Facebook will receive four months of paid leave to bond with a new baby. The Menlo Park, California-based already offered four months of paid parental leave to some employees. Any Facebook employees who had or adopted a baby in 2015 will also be eligible for the perk.

"This expanded benefit primarily affects new fathers and people in same-sex relationships outside the US," wrote Lori Matloff Goler, Facebook's vice president of human resources, in a post Friday. "We want to be there for our people at all stages of life, and in particular we strive to be a leading place to work for families."

The expanded leave policy comes after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last week said he would be taking two months of paternity leave when his own daughter is born.

Tech companies traditionally engender a culture of hard work coupled with enticing benefits, including parental leave, to attract and motivate talented employees. Adobe and Microsoft both expanded their parental leave programs this year, and in August, Netflix announced "unlimited" paid time off to moms and dads during their first year as new parents.

Federal law requires many companies in the US to offer at least 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. While 21 percent of US organizations offer some paid maternity leave, only 2 percent offer unlimited paid leave.

As one of the reasons for updating its parental leave policy, Facebook cited Pew Research that says half of fathers are worried that they don't spend enough time with their children.

"Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families," wrote Matloff Goler. "Taking parental leave is a very personal decision, but we want to be able to provide our people with the support and flexibility to take the time they need."