If it takes a village to raise a kid, it takes a metropolis to raise five. I’ve had kids born now in all sorts of different job environments, in order:
- Sole breadwinner at a church with no paternity policy, but generally flexible. Took a couple of weeks paid; hadn’t really taken a paid vacation before at that job.
- Sole breadwinner as an independent contractor with health insurance that didn’t cover maternity. No paid leave, plus bills equal to a small car.
- Stay-at-home dad & part-time freelancer. Vanessa had two-weeks paid leave, rest of semester (~2 months) unpaid leave. No paid leave for me and had to ramp up work to help make ends meet.
- Sole breadwinner employed at Automattic.
No company is perfect. They all have their warts, but Automattic’s paternity policy is, frankly, beyond anything I could ask for, at least from my American point-of-view.
The policy directly from our handbook: Take the time off that you need.
It goes on to specify that paid leave is dependent on being at Automattic for a year and that, after three months, health coverage will be offered under COBRA until your return. Fair enough.
With the twins being in the NICU, then being home and small enough to merit them to go back into the hospital after catching RSV, being able to take months off to focus on them and get our bearings a bit, is truly a blessing and, within the States, revolutionary.
The current reality of maternity and paternity leave in the United States is a joke. You can’t really argue for paternity leave at this point since maternity leave is such in need of reform first.
Despite the majority of the country, I’m glad that a growing number of workplaces see the overall benefit—to them and their employees—in supporting the total well-being of their people and I’m especially glad to be working at one of them. By a company investing so much into me, it only makes me want to ensure I’m giving them my best.
In the first of a series of “Thank You” posts, I say thank you Automattic for allowing me, for the first time, to fully focus on my family as we welcomed an addition.
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Update: Good timing, I suppose. I completely had missed my coworker, Darnell, saying basically the same thing I just did.