Business Mental Health

Pinterest’s Push for Radical Parental Policies in the Workplace

Pinterest on tablet

While several major corporations have been the subject of recent criticism for providing insufficient employee benefits and parental policies, others have risen to the challenge. One such progressive company has been Pinterest, who as of this year announced a revamp within the company in order to push for better employee benefits. By doing so, they would become one of the first companies to provide more opportunities for staff members with a radical expansion of its parental policies. They’ve since added increased financial support as well as a host of other benefits that reflect the core values espoused by the company itself.

Beginning January 1, 2022, employees are to be given 20+ weeks of parental leave. Furthermore, families with newborns in NICU will be offered 12 weeks of paid leave. Pinterest is also offering financial assistance for adoptive parents, which has increased from $5,000 USD to $10,000 USD. But what makes the benefits package so revolutionary is its expansive inclusivity. Today, parents are also offered four weeks of paid leave for pregnancy loss and IVF support/egg freezing, benefits that very few companies have adopted.

These updated support benefits were added to its already competitive benefit offerings, which include surrogacy assistance up to $20,000 USD, personalized parenting support, access to various mental health professionals, paid leave for COVID-19, and company-wide PTO throughout the year (nicknamed “Pintention Days”), to name a few.

Pinterest credits the need for inclusive practices and support as a motivating factor in becoming one of the first businesses to implement these types of benefits on a global scale. According to Alice Vichaita, Head of Global Benefits, this will prompt the reassessment of current policies in every sector. As Pinterest transitions away from the typical, surface-level connection of corporate culture, it’s laying the groundwork for other major platforms and corporations to follow. But aside from helping to support its employees at home, the company is also working to provide safer spaces within the workplace.

“A large part of this is listening to our employees, [we hope] that they really feel that they can bring their full selves to work, and create a life that they love,” says Vichaita.

As post-birth support pay is currently limited, the shift towards a more inclusive parental benefits system could be life-changing. Standard parental benefits have been modelled with the nuclear family in mind, anticipating that every family situation is the same. Those who do not fit the mould are often left without pregnancy support. Because of this, Pinterest made sure to update its employee benefits offering. While it isn’t an uncommon occurrence, support in the workplace post-pregnancy loss isn’t usually discussed. This leaves employees to mask these struggles, forcing them to return to work before they’ve fully recovered.

Related: How Canada’s Pandemic Response Can Better Support Women

“Part of the reason we want to be able to share this broadly is that we want to be able to normalize the type of conversation— these are life experiences,” explains Vichaita.

By explicitly mentioning this in its benefits plan, Pinterest aims to normalize conversations surrounding infertility and loss of pregnancy, while still providing tangible support for staff.

As COVID-19 spread, so did lockdowns and an inevitable change of pace in daily life. Since then, an even greater need for inclusive employee benefits has come to be, along with enhanced communication between staff members and administration. Companies like Pinterest are working hard, choosing to take a definitive stance on issues pertaining to parental and mental health. By doing so, they set a precedent and inspire businesses across the globe to either evolve alongside them or to watch as their employees leave for where the grass is greener.