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Silicon Valley’s Latest Innovation: Next-Level Maternity and Family Benefits
Takara Small | August 2, 2016

Silicon Valley technology companies have long been known for offering employees a wide range of benefits—from nap pods and snack bars to flexible work schedules and stock options—in a bid to lure the country’s top tech talent. However where Bay-area companies really shine these days is when it comes to family-friendly policies—in particular through innovative programs for new mothers.

“The main driver for companies is to get talent, and providing attractive benefit packages gets them in the door,” Cali Williams Yost, founder of workplace consultancy firm Flex+Strategy Group, said in an interview. “[Tech companies] are in a tough competition for talent, especially as they’re try to diversify their workforce and attract women who are aware of what good [benefit] options are out there.”

Among those options, benefits like paid maternity leave and subsidized childcare have become increasingly prevalent. However, some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names have taken maternity and family benefits to the next level, offering perks that just five or ten years ago would have been largely unheard of in the industry.

Here’s a look at some particularly noteworthy examples.

Twitter

While it’s not the only company to offer the perk, Twitter grabbed headlines when it announced last year that it would begin paying for travelling moms to ship breast milk home

Other companies that offer similar milk-shipping services for their employees include IBM, digital and strategy consultant firm Accenture, and online real estate service Zillow. The initiative is important for new mothers who travel and want to continue nursing.

Intel

Last year, the information technology company quadrupled the amount of money it spends on fertility benefits—from $10,000 to $40,000—which includes boosting medical service coverage for vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment.

Programs like these can be incredibly important for women who hope to raise a family without taking a major financial hit. According to the American Society of for Reproductive Medicine, an average IVF cycle costs about $12,400 in the United States, and because the process sometimes needs to be repeated over and over again, it can end up costing individuals hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Netflix isn’t the only Bay area company offering this perk: Google and Apple provide egg freezing and IVF treatment to employees, too.

Netflix

Parents who want to take extended time off to bond with their babies after giving birth or adopting a child are often left having to take unpaid leave. Enter Netflix, which is changing things for the better. The entertainment streaming service offers unlimited paid maternity and paternity leave for the first 12 months.

While few have matched Netflix’s year-long offering, others in the Bay area provide very generous maternity leave packages, as well. That includes Yahoo, which offers between six and eight weeks paid leave for new mothers, while eBay earlier this year expanded its paid offering to 12 weeks for paternal and family leave.

Facebook

While fertility treatments are an outstanding perk that can alleviate financial and time-related burdens related to family planning for some workers, childcare is another important factor that can cost a substantial amount of money.

A 2015 report by Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found in some states annual childcare costs were higher than college tuition. In response, some companies like Facebook are stepping up to help employees pay for care. Facebook offers $4,000 in “baby cash” to help working parents offset childcare costs.