IBM is the latest tech giant to extend parental leave

IBM is giving new mothers and fathers more time off, as well as helping with adoption and surrogacy costs.

Erin Carson
Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
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IBM is giving new parents more time off.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Another tech company is upping its parental leave game.

New moms who have given birth since November 2016 are getting their paid parental leave bumped up from 14 to 20 weeks, IBM said in a blog post Wednesday. Paid leave for fathers, partners or adoptive parents is also getting a boost to 12 weeks, up from six.

"As the landscape for working parents changes, it's abundantly clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for the issues faced by parents who are balancing family with outside work every day," Barbara Brickmeier, IBM vice president of employee benefits, said in a blog post.

IBM is the latest tech company to adopt a more liberal policy toward parental leave at a time when there's more attention on the impact of having parents stay with their children longer during the early days of their development. In August 2015, Netflix launched paid, unlimited parental leave for a child's first year. About three months later, Facebook said it would start giving four months of paid parental leave for new parents.

Over time, tech companies have also extended benefits to partners, as well as for families pursuing adoption or surrogacy.

In Europe, the parental leave situation is pretty different. Of 193 countries in the United Nations, the US joins only New Guinea, Suriname and a few South Pacific islands in not having a paid parental leave law. European Union countries offer a minimum of 16 weeks to new mothers. In the UK, mothers get 52 weeks, 39 of which are partially paid. Ireland offers 52 weeks, with 42 weeks partially paid, according to a 2016 study from Glassdoor.

And if you're not quite at the point of starting a family, companies like Apple, eBay, Google and Intel offer egg freezing benefits.

In addition to upping the length of parental leave, IBM will also reimburse employees up to $20,000 for certain adoption or surrogacy expenses. IBM's Special Care for Children Assistance Plan will also reimburse workers $50,000 for services for a child who might have mental, developmental or physical disabilities.

In 2015, IBM also rolled out a program where it would ship breast milk home if new mothers had to travel.

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