Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, pregnant women are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid time off without losing their job. But at many places, paternity leave isn’t quite as set in stone.
A company called Tradesy, which sells second-hand luxury goods online, is one of a handful of tech companies that is offering generous parental leave to all of its employees. Despite the fact that Tradesy is a startup with about 100 employees, and isn’t profitable yet (though expects to be within the year). Tradesy CEO and founder Tracy DiNunzio told host Ben Johnson how it works. A transcript of the edited interview is below.
Ben Johnson: You recently put in place a paternity leave policy. Tell me how it works.
Tracy DiNunzio: Sure. We now offer equal paid leave for both new moms and new dads when they have a baby, and we kind of go above and beyond what the state offers by giving 12 weeks of paid leave and an optional additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and that policy is 100 percent equal for moms, dads and really any new parent.
Johnson: What is it modeled after and why are you doing this?
DiNunzio: Our original inspiration actually came from one of our investors, Richard Branson, who created a phenomenal policy at his Virgin corporation, where team members who’ve been there for more than four years, both men and women, get a full year of paid leave when they have a baby. We’re not in a position to do that, particularly because the existing laws in the U.S. don’t help us subsidize and support that as much as they could. But we were very inspired by that move. We believe that it’s good for our people and good for society in general. So we went ahead and implemented our version of it, and we hope to continue making it a more robust policy.
Johnson: How much does it cost you?
DiNunzio: You know, we have a young team, and they are in their baby-making years. So we have had a number of people take advantage of the policy, but when you weigh these costs, the benefits are just incredible in terms of loyalty. I think it pays off in ways that aren’t quite quantifiable.
Johnson: Tradesy is in some ways a real sort of tech-forward and tech company and, as such, it really needs to compete for talent, I would assume. Is that part of this as well? Are you doing this to help you compete?
DiNunzio: I will say it doesn’t hurt. Giving paternity leave is a really important way of supporting women in the workplace, because as long as women’s paid leave is subsidized and men’s is not, that system sort of insists that it’s the woman who will step out of the workplace to attend to child care needs. And so what our policy says is that you as two parents make the decision about who is the primary caregiver and how that works. So that supports the wives of the men who work for us. I think those wives are also happy to encourage their husbands to take jobs with us.