Daily Column – 17th February 2022

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal told the WaPo yesterday that he will be taking “a few weeks” off after the birth of his second child. When Agrawal, the CEO of one of the most important tech companies in the country, decided to take just a few months off from work to spend time with his family, it was a big deal.

Silicon Valley dads like Mark Zuckerberg and Alexis Ohanian took a few months of paid leave when their kids were born years ago. Agrawal is following in their footsteps by taking time off of work to build a crib and support a baby’s floppy neck, just like them. When Ohanian talks about paid paternity leave, he’s been very public about it.

In the past, some very powerful people in the tech world have made headlines for mostly working right after the birth of their children.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer caused a stir in 2015 when she said that she would only take two weeks off after giving birth to twins and that she would be “working through” that time.

He said that after the birth of his youngest child in 2020, he had time to build spaceships and fight on Twitter because his then-partner Grimes played a “much bigger role” in taking care of the child.

This comes after Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg took paternity leave to care for his newborn twins, which made Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Joe Rogan, as well as many other people, very angry.

Isn’t paid leave supposed to be for the person who gave birth?

Because he had the “flexibility to take care of our newborn children, which, by the way, is work,” Buttigieg said he was “blessed.”

In the US, the only rich country without a paid parental leave law is the US. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics looked at data from last March, only 23% of civilian workers had access to paid family leave, even though 73% of US adults said they wanted the government to help pay for it. Biden’s Build Back Better plan would have given everyone paid leave for four weeks, but it didn’t get very far in the Senate.

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